Recently, I have watched the incredibly emotional film Me Before You. This film open minds, bends stiff ideas and leaves you with one (or lots of) tears. I believe sharing my thoughts on this particular film is important to express. Like a post I have written before, regarding a film, I will write about Me Before You in relation to a theme that it so elegantly illustrated, and that is authority. Authority, in this film, shows that you can be the master of your own destination, if you have a little believe. This was demonstrated by both characters that I wilI write about. I would like for you to read this with an open mind and to remember nothing is ever ‘black and white.’ Feel free to comment any thoughts you may have on this!!
So much, if not all, of society is controlled restricted and overruled by a superior force, in one way or another. This could be in the form of the government, teachers/people we seek advice from or your parents. Sometimes the sense of authority can make you feel ‘safe’, providing you with assurance that your life choices are accepted agreed and Okayed by a figure that you admire. With reassurance given it motivates you, consciously or subconsciously, to succeed even more in the decisions that you make. This sense of security that comes with authority could, however, be so overbearing that one is left trapped, finding themselves in an unrequested life, unable to grasp hold of the steering wheel of their life, simply be a passenger on route to a unknown destination. But just because you are answered with a dismissive glare and hear the stomach-churning, two letter word ‘NO’ do not mean you cannot find your own way. You can create your own key to open the lock!!
The film, Me Before You, follows the story of Will; a man who once was a young highflying city banker with a zest for life and had a love for travelling was left paralyzed following a motorbike accident. He was back living with his parents in a place he described “That people come to when they get tired of actually living.” Will’s life, post-accident, is a total contrast from the way he found his way in the world; from being completely independent, and in control of his destination to having to ask for assistance with every little movement and having it authorised by another person.
Will’s story merges together with the life of Lou. A young lady with a quirky personality, trying to earn money for her family, but finds herself unhappy in every job she takes. She is living in the world not truly knowing which way her life is headed. Lou then applies and is successful caregiving job to a young man, who just happens to be Will. In her first few encounters with Will, he appears to be shut off and very closed minded to the idea of any sort of companionship with anyone including Lou; the personalities of both theses character could not be more different, with Lou always looking at life with ‘the glass half full.’ Will’s bitterness is highlighted when he says to Lou “What if I said I didn’t want you here?” to which she replies “I’m not employed by you, I’m employed by your mother.” Here we see the lack of authority Will have; the director of his life lies with someone else. However Lou’s raw honesty to Will about the effect his pessimism on others “making….life…miserable” that results in his company “not being particularly enjoyable,” allows him to see another’s perspective and that others have difficult times too. From this moment in the film Will’s cynicism begins to fade, letting a relationship with Lou blossom. They both learn things from each other that would otherwise be an unknown territory if their lives did not pave the path that it did; from Lou’s perspective being magnified, enabling her to find a deeper meaning of life that she craved for, and Will’s ability to look beyond stereotypes and find true beauty in people, stepping out of his comfort zone. Both of these characters could be said to play a ‘teacher’ role to each other, one teaching the other vital life lessons.
This beautiful relationship between Will and Lou that makes them re-define the word life plays a deep importance in both of their lives. However for Will what he desires for is unattainable, Lou learns of Will’s wish to end his life; not wanting to endure anymore of the endless physical or emotional pain he experiences every day, as a result of his disability. In the hope that he will change his mind and see that “life is worth living” Lou establishes and make come alive Will’s dreams, dreams of traveling, going to concerts and being part of activities that he enjoyed as what he termed as the “Old Will.” But even in times of joy, Will is reminded of what he yearns for; after He and Lou drive home from concert Will says “I just want to be a man who’ve been to a concert with a girl in a red dress, just a few minutes more” in reply to Lou’s comment “we better get you in (both still sitting in the car).” He still has to ask to do things in order to experience just a fraction of his desired life, which would perhaps be otherwise left unsaid.
Both characters show that some they can gain or regain power over their life. This is firstly demonstrated by Lou and her ability to persevere with the cynical temperament of Will when they both meet, showing him the light amongst the darkness of his perspective. Throughout the film we see Lou’s sense of self blossoming, being able to stand up for herself and not having something or someone else have power over her. Secondly Will regains his ability to be heard and respected. This is first demonstrated when Lou expresses the effect he has had on her when she tells him “I have become a whole new person because of you,” indicating that he have the abilities to change people lives, even if it is unconsciously. A second way in which he regains authority is by having the final say on the direction of his life. Although Will is tried to be convinced that he could still experience life and fulfil his dreams, he wants to experience those things as the “Old Will”; he is still wishes to die. After six months of when he first shared his wish with his parents, he makes his final journey to Switzerland whereby he ends his life. This was solely Will’s decision and a decision he persisted with. Even though people who authorised the way he lived was in disagreement, Will got back control of his life and directed it in the way that he knew best.
All my love XX
Read more thoughtful articles by Rebecca Sullivan here!