It feels as though its been a while since the last true romcom hit the screens, so Me Before You will likely be a draw for all those missing that cosy genre. Thea Sharrock’s adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ bestseller settles comfortably in the weepy romcom genre that carries the lovable British charm, but is more of a film to stick on on a rainy day when there’s little else to do.
The film follows Emilia Clarke’s Lou as she starts a job caring for Will (Sam Claflin), a paraplegic, and details the ups and downs of their relationship and, of course, their blossoming romance. This premise sets up a formulaic pathway for the plot, which the film doesn’t really stray from, but it is peppered with enough funny jokes and the occasional moment of poignancy that it keeps your mind from wandering.
It is the British charm that is one of the film’s most endearing aspects, with some instances of awkwardly adorable hilarity reminiscent of Richard Curtis films. The film shows the distinct contrast to the mass of American romcoms in feeling more homey and genuine, and a little less manufactured as many Hollywood outputs do (not that they are without other merits). This feel is supported by the impressive cast of Brit actors who pop up at various points in the film, each bringing something to the table. The two leads also bring a great sense of charm and chemistry to the film. Claflin brings a wry personality to his character, able to communicate his character well without the use of his body language. Clarke is likeable too, bringing Lou to life, but occasionally becomes so over eager, her character loses a little of her feisty attitude and bite, and slips into becoming a caricature.
The film doesn’t really explore the characters in enough depth to elicit true emotion past the expected ‘weepy’. The formulaic nature of the story also holds it back a bit as the predictability removes any surprise.
Overall, Me Before You doesn’t break any new ground and won’t join the greats of its genre, but it’s a fairly good addition to the lets-just-stick-on-a-romcom canon.