Me Before You

Me Before You Information

Me Before You is a 2016 romantic drama film directed by Thea Sharrock in her directorial debut and adapted by English author Jojo Moyes from her 2012 novel of the same name. The film stars Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Jenna Coleman, Charles Dance, Matthew Lewis, Janet McTeer, Vanessa Kirby, Joanna Lumley, and Steve Peacocke.

Set in the United Kingdom, the film is shot in various historic locations around the country, including Pembroke Castle in Wales, and Chenies Manor House in Buckinghamshire, England. Released on June 3, 2016, in North America, the film received mixed reviews and grossed $208 million worldwide.


Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke) is a happy, outgoing woman who lives with and supports her working-class family. After losing her job at a local cafe, she is hired as a companion for Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a former successful banker and once active young man who became paralyzed after being involved in a motorcycle accident two years prior. Louisa has no experience, but Will's mother believes her cheery personality will help lift his spirits. Will only spends time with his nurse Nathan (Steve Peacocke), who knows that he will never regain use of his body due to the damage to his spinal cord. Nathan assists him with everything physical like movement, exercise, and clothing.

Cynical and depressed because he can no longer live an active life, Will initially reacts coldly to Louisa's upbeat demeanor and treats her with contempt. After two weeks, Will has a visit from his former best friend Rupert and ex-girlfriend Alicia, who reveal that they are engaged. Will manages to smash all the photographs on his dresser in anger and indignation, which Louisa tries to repair the next day, leading to a verbal altercation between the two. The next day, Will asks Louisa to watch a film with subtitles with him, and she accepts. The two begin to bond and eventually become close friends. Louisa and Will continue to talk daily; she learns that he is cultured and worldly, having traveled extensively. In contrast, her life so far has been simple, without many interests or hobbies or travel away from home. Her long-term boyfriend, Patrick (Matthew Lewis), is training to take part in a Viking triathlon in Norway, a hobby that he often chooses over spending time with her. Will urges Louisa to broaden her horizons and tells her that it's her responsibility to live her life as fully as possible.

While Nathan takes care of Will during one of his occasional illnesses, Louisa notices Will's scarred wrists from a previous suicide attempt. Sometime after, Louisa overhears an argument between Will's parents, and she learns that Will has given his parents six months before checking in to Dignitas in Switzerland for assisted suicide. Will refuses to accept life with a disability that entails dependency, pain, and suffering without any hope for recovery of his old self. Louisa then takes it upon herself to change his mind. She organizes various trips and adventures to show Will that life is worth living, despite his disability. Will gradually becomes more communicative and open to her plans. Louisa, Will, and Nathan attend horse racing, a trip far from perfect. Nonetheless, Louisa sways Will into attending a Mozart concert. Will then decides to attend Alicia's wedding and asks Louisa to accompany him. At the wedding, Louisa and Will enjoy offending the straight-laced guests. Louisa learns from the bride's godmother that she considers Will to be Alicia's "one that got away".

Will joins Louisa's family for dinner on her birthday, where they learn that Louisa's father had lost his job in a leveraged buyout that happened to have been organized by a younger associate of Will. Shortly thereafter, Louisa's father is offered the head of maintenance job at Stortfold Castle, which belongs to Will's family, and Louisa realizes that Will is trying to help her secure her freedom from her family. Gradually they develop strong feelings for one another, which makes Patrick jealous and causes problems in Louisa's long-standing relationship, eventually leading to their break-up.

During a luxurious trip to the island of Mauritius together, undertaken after another bout with pneumonia and with help from Nathan, Will informs Louisa that he still intends to follow through with the euthanasia. He wants her to live a full life instead of "half a life" with him. He says their time together has been special, but he cannot bear to live in a wheelchair. He asks her to accompany him to Switzerland to be with him through his last moments. Heartbroken, she informs Will's parents upon arrival in London that she is quitting immediately and travels back to her home by bus. She does not speak to Will for the days that follow. However, at home, Louisa's father convinces her to go to Will. She finds out that he has already left for Switzerland, so she decides to go to Switzerland herself to be with Will in his final moments.

A few weeks after Will's death, sitting in his favorite cafe in Paris, she rereads the letter Will left for her. In it, he encourages her to seek out a specific perfume shop and ends off the letter with "Just live." He has left her enough money to follow her dreams.



On April 2, 2014, it was announced Thea Sharrock would direct the film. On September 2, 2014, Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin were cast in the film. Stephen Peacocke was cast on March 24, 2015, with Jenna Coleman and Charles Dance cast on April 2, 2015. On April 9, 2015, Janet McTeer joined the cast; and Brendan Coyle, Matthew Lewis, Samantha Spiro, Vanessa Kirby, and Ben Lloyd-Hughes joined the cast the next day.


Principal photography began in April 2015, and ended on June 26, 2015. The film was shot in various locations in the UK, including Pembroke, Wales, and Chenies Manor House, Chenies, Buckinghamshire, England for the wedding scenes, while Mallorca, Spain, stands in for Mauritius.


In July 2014, it was announced that the film would be released on August 21, 2015. In May 2015, the film's release date was moved to June 3, 2016. In November 2015, the film's release date was moved back, to March 4, 2016, before being delayed again in January 2016, to its previous June 3, 2016 release date.


Box office

Me Before You grossed $56.2 million in North America and over $152 million in other territories for a total of $208.3 million, against a budget of $20 million.

In North America, Me Before You opened on June 3, 2016 alongside Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and was expected to gross around $15 million from 2,704 theaters in its opening weekend. The film grossed $1.4 million from its Thursday night previews and $7.8 million on its first day. In its opening weekend the film grossed $18.3 million, finishing third at the box office behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows ($35.3 million) and X-Men: Apocalypse ($22.3 million).

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 58% based on 151 reviews; the average rating is 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Me Before You benefits from Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin's alluring chemistry, although it isn't enough to compensate for its clumsy treatment of a sensitive subject." On Metacritic the film has a score of 51 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
People's Choice Awards Favorite Dramatic Movie Me Before You
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Liplock Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin
MTV Movie & TV Awards Tearjerker Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin


The film has suffered a backlash from many people in the disability rights movement due to what they perceive as an underlying message that people with disabilities are a burden on their families and carers, and claim the film promotes the view that people are better off dead than disabled. They view the film as advocating suicide so that their loved ones can "live boldly". The #MeBeforeEuthanasia backlash has been led by celebrities with disabilities such as Liz Carr, Penny Pepper, Mik Scarlet and Cherylee Houston and Not Dead Yet UK in the UK, and Dominick Evans, Emily Ladau and activists from Not Dead Yet in the US. Protests in the US occurred in Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, various locations in Colorado and Texas, Atlanta, Baltimore, Connecticut, Rochester, San Francisco, and multiple locations around the country. The film was also protested in Australia.

See also

  • Disability in the arts

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