Still I did end up shedding the requisite tears, a few anyway. But then, I'm a cryer by nature. As in the book, the character of Lou is gormless, guiless, remarkably ignorant for her age (26) but considering the sheltered environment of her small tourist town, centered around a castle, it's almost understandable. Jojo Moyes, who wrote the script based on her own novel, gives her plenty of room to grow, and Will Traynor, played by lovely Sam Claflin, gives her the push that makes it happen.
In the film there's a flashback scene where his friends make a mock James Bond movie highlighting Will's extreme sports daredevil skills. I'm going to go out on a limb and say yes, I can totally understand why Claflin is in the who's gonna be the next James Bond? conversation. The guy is a star.
Moyes' script, much pared down from her novel, could have shown us more of Will's painful physical world, helped us better understand his decision but those details are all taken care of behind sliding doors by his caretaker, Matthew played by Stephen Peacocke. Lou is spared the details and unfortunately, we the audience are too, which spares us the total devastation we might otherwise feel. What we're left with is a sweet little tragedy, a poignant story about a couple we've been told about, not the deeply felt, earth shattering hurt we'd feel if we'd gone a bit more below the surface.
Janet McTear is on point as Will's mum—as the mother of a son, I couldn't help but relate to her well-meaning intentions—while Charles Dance was given so little to do, it barely seemed worth his effort. But perhaps all we need from Dance is his aristocratic, dispassionate air, a sketch of a distant dad. It's always lovely to see Brendan Coyle—one of my Downton faves as Mr. Bates—but again, as Louisa's dad, he had very little to do.
Matthew Lewis was fine as Patrick, Lou's boyfriend the fitness freak whose jealousy gave us plenty to laugh about.
Overall, it's a light little movie about a deeply disturbing and difficult subject but it was an entertaining couple of hours. I don't do stars, but I'd give Me Before You three very squiggly eyebrows.
Because it's still technically Slacker Sunday, here's a video of director Thea Sharrock talking about the characters.