Me Before You - Review

PG-13 | 1h 50min | Drama, Romance
Review - Kimberly Mungle

*In theaters June 3rd*

SynopsisA girl in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she's taking care of.

ReviewWhen I read Me Before You it broke my heart in half…it made me angry…it made me sad…and honestly a little depressed when I finished the last page.  I strongly believe that if a book can take you on an emotional journey like that, it’s a great story.  When I heard a film adaptation was in the works, I wasn’t sure how successful it would be.  I mean, we all know, it’s nearly impossible to get all the important elements of a novel squished into 90-120 minutes of screen time.

Me Before You is the story of Louisa Clark (portrayed by Emilia Clarke), a girl who believes she is quite ordinary.  She has ordinary jobs, and an ordinary family, and an ordinary boyfriend.  When she is let go from yet another employer, she reluctantly takes a position as a “carer” for a quadriplegic man.   She is desperate to make the job work so that she can help her family make ends meet at home. 

Will Traynor (portrayed by Sam Claflin) is anything but ordinary.  He has traveled the world over - hiked the highest mountains, skied the lowest valleys, and swam the clearest oceans.  He’s had beautiful girlfriends, loads of friends, and a highly successful career in acquisitions.  And then he is injured in an accident and becomes paralyzed - confined to a wheelchair with very little movement in his arms and legs.  He has no choice but to depend on others for the most basic of care.  And of course, his mother has now hired a quirky overly-positive girl to serve as his companion.

As Louisa and Will’s relationship develops, Louisa attempts to show Will that his life can still be great.  And while Will is convinced his life will never be as good as it was, he attempts to show Louisa that she is the one who still has the potential to have anything but an ordinary life.  Me Before You is a beautiful and unique love story that will reiterate the importance of living the best life you are given.

This film is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some suggestive material.  If you are curious about the novel/film comparison I would say it follows fairly closely.  Some details (quite a bit of Will’s medical/physical issues) are left out and some story-lines are modified slightly to make the film work.  The overall feeling of story is the same.  I would definitely say if you enjoyed the book or this genre in general, see it!  I took my 16 year old daughter (who had not read the book) and we both enjoyed it immensely although we did go through quite a few tissues.  

Hello, My Name Is Doris [Blu-ray]

  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: 
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 14, 2016
  • Run Time: 90 minutes

  • SynopsisAfter a lifetime of being overlooked and ignored, a woman of a certain age finds her world turned upside down by a handsome new co-worker and a self-help seminar that inspires her to take a chance on love in Hello, My Name is Doris, a witty and compassionate late-life coming-of-age-story.

    ReviewMatt Mungle - Sally Field delivers the first award winning performance of the year in the new Romantic Comedy/Drama, HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS. Watching this film you will be reminded why we all love her so. Here we see an actress with such a wide range of emotional depth and who, at 69 years of age, can still rock the night away. 

    Doris Miller (Field) is a quirky office worker who has been spending most of the last few decades caring for her aged mother. When Doris finally gets her freedom much of life has past her by. She sits each day in a cubicle adapting to the ever changing work space around her. But when the hunky new co-worker John (Max Greenfield) stirs up some fiery emotions it is time to cast care to the wind and take a chance on love. 

    The film is a decent balance of comedy, drama, and romance. And none of these overshadows the other. Much of this synergy is due to Fields ability to capture the different emotions of Doris' character. She has to be funny and whimsical one minute and dramatically overwhelmed the next. All while never losing the overall dynamic of Doris. The clothes and hair help to solidify this too. She has a look and style that is her own and stands out in a crowd. It is this zaniness that bridges the generation gap between her and her younger cohorts. 

    Kudos to Greenfield as well. His character John befriends this lovable older woman who, to him, is just a lot of fun to be around. He has no idea the feelings she has for him.  To hold his own against the subtle acting perfection of Sally Field is not an easy task. He has to feel as comfortable in each scene as she is. If he ever once shows any intimidation or insecurity then the whole story crumbles. 

    Much of the humor comes from watching Doris maneuver through the world of social dating. She enlists the help of her best friend's granddaughter to help stalk John on Facebook. There she begins to take notes on his likes and dislikes in order to aid in casual conversation. One element to appreciate about the humor is never does it make fun of Doris. As an audience you laugh a lot with her but never at her. Too often comedies will take a character like this and write jokes at their expense. Focusing on one flaw or a social awkwardness. Here we have a person that anyone would be pleased to know. 

    The writing also is grounded in reality. The drama comes from seeing a woman who is struggling with capturing a bit of the past. She is going for something that we all know is just out of reach. Are we rooting for her? Absolutely. But never do we feel like we are witnessing a fantasy. Her struggles are real and many of them we can relate to and understand. Unreturned love and infatuation is hard at any age. It is an emotion that most have battled in the wee hours of the night. So to root for this character is to root for us all. 

    Seeing the modern culture and hipster generation through the eyes of a woman of Doris' age is enlightening and such grand comedic fodder. We have conformed to the evolution of speech and mindsets to the point that we fail to see the absurdity in a lot of it. So when we take a step back and look at it from a distance much of it becomes so trivial. In the end the things we think are so groundbreaking, inventive, and revolutionary mean nothing in comparison to life and living. Every generation thinks itself enlightened. That is what makes it so easy to laugh at. 

    Hello, My Name Is Doris is rated R for language. It is an adult comedy but never is it sophomoric or crude. It is intelligent writing and comes across as such. If you love Sally Field it is a must see. If you don't admire her going in you will certainly adore her on the other side. I give it 4 out of 5 knitting clubs. A smart and funny film that showcases a beloved actress and a memorable character.