Bookmarks and Big Screens: “Me Before You”
By Ellie Trebilcock
Is the book or the movie better?
It’s the most controversial topic between bookworms and movie-buffs. To resolve the long battle between these two passionate types of media consumers, I will compare and evaluate the quality of the book and movie versions of the story.
This Month: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
I recently picked up the book Me Before You and was so charmed I read it, cover-to-cover, in less than a day. While reading Me Before You be prepared to laugh, gasp, and bawl your eyes out. The story follows Louisa Clarke, who becomes a caretaker for Will Traynor; a man disabled after being hit by a motorcycle. When I first bought the book, I was expecting the story to be another over-the-top romance. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Instead of the typical rushed confession of love, the characters’ feelings were gradually realized.
There is also witty banter between Louisa and Will which brings an endearing comedic feel to the novel. In contrast, the book seriously questions the popular notion love is enough to save someone. A compelling theme of the book is accepting the decisions your loved ones make concerning their future, even if you know the decisions will cause yourself pain.
A few days after finishing the book, I went to the theater to see how the movie compared. While watching, I jotted down a few of my thoughts:
- Did the book’s author write the movie???
It is very rare to find a movie which follows the plot of the book so closely. After watching the movie, I learned the author actually did help write the screenplay. (Would all authors do this please?)
- Was the acting convincing?
I want to give the main actors, Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin a bear hug. The acting in this movie was phenomenal! They portrayed their characters’ personalities perfectly. Their subtle glances (and their not so subtle glances) captured the chemistry between the two characters.
- Where is the sister drama?
In the novel, the sisters’ fights are an important part of Louisa’s personal growth. In the movie, the sister plays more of a best friend and moral support role.
- Why was the implied sexual assault cut out from the movie?
The film left out an important part of the plot which explains a character’s backstory. In my opinion, cutting out the the sexual assault from the plot of the movie undermines the pain the victim of sexual assault experiences. Even if it wasn’t the movie-maker’s intention, it feels as if they are silencing the victim’s story. Media reflects our society. Not mentioning the sexual assault (which is apart of the book), can lead to the unintentional consequence of making victims feel alienated and ashamed.
Here’s a good Washington Post article on the subject.
- Ugly Crying?
Check. Prepare to bring tissues to the theater.
Book— 5 stars
Movie— 4 stars
Even though I think both versions of Me Before You are worth reading and watching, I think the bookworms narrowly win this round. The book provides the audience a better understanding of the characters’ motivations by going more in depth into their growth and development. While the movie is more focused on the relationship between the main characters and not how they evolved after meeting each other.