Before I begin, I want to make two things very clear. 1: I did not pay to watch this movie. I would never do that. And 2: My motivation for watching it was so that I could confirm its status as a miserable, wilting pile of BS. Well -- BS confirmed.
|Thanks JoJo moyes for inspiring me to write something better -- like this sentance. It has spelling and grammatical errors, but I'm not going to fix it to make a point about the height of the bar you set.
I knew it was, because I read the book (I was super, naively, embarrassingly unwitting to what it was), and since the movie is exactly like the book, I now have a nice opportunity to go on a ranting rampage and get a few things off my chest. So in case you're ignorant to this story, here it is in a nutshell. Girl (Emilia Clarke) is hired by rich parents (Janet McTeer and Charles Dance) to be a sort of care-giving companion to their previously wild playboy son (Sam Claflin) who was hit by a motorbike and now is a quadriplegic (basically he can move his head, and his fingers enough to drive his wheelchair). Girl and boy develop friendship, improve each other's lives, fall in love. Boy commits assisted suicide with the support of girl and parents. Isn't that so sweet? You're probably bawling already from the tragic romantic beauty of it all.
So the movie spends most of its time and more than most of its effort in trying to justify the suicide (still never sticking to one argument long enough to see it through, but more on that later) but in the beginning, before Clark learns of Will's intentions, there are a few events to keep one entertained. The growing friendship and the mutually improved lives were by comparison, well done, and bolstered by the movie's visual aspect which featured a lot of good-looking people wearing pretty clothes and surrounded by pretty, well filtered locations.
|That's Brendan Coyle in the center. And Jenna Coleman is Clark's sister -- a pointless role outside of the book.
But the movie is torn between improving Will's life and making it tragic so that the end "works." He gets to spend all day being waited on, watching movies, listening to music, and rolling through beautiful English countryside, and his loving parents are rich and doting -- but no, his life is miserable. Examples? Well, he used to be a daredevil, and has explored places and done things that most would only dream of. Sounds like he was lucky to be able to do those things before the accident. He also had a girlfriend (Vanessa Kirby) who is now engaged to his old best friend and it's super awkward. But he attends their wedding and she makes a point of thanking him for coming. She also implies to Clark that the reason they broke up was because he pushed her away. I dunno y'all; it's an unfortunate situation, but she sounds like a decent girl.
On the flip side, Clark has her own boyfriend (Matthew Lewis), a fitness-obsessed, bit-of-a-doofus kind of guy you know is gonna be gone by then end. But again, there's really nothing wrong with him. He's just ignorant to Clark's wishes, like, he plans a holiday that he wants to do, which she pretends to be excited about! And then we're supposed to hate him for not understanding her? She won't tell him what she thinks about anything, so of course he thinks everything is fine. Then he starts getting jealous of Will, which, considering the romance that blooms later is totally justified. They finally break up and I feel more relieved for him, poor fellow.
|At the wedding, Clark sits on Will's lap and they "dance" to shock the snobby crowd, but we are never given any reason to think they are snobby except that they're rich. And Will's rich too. And Clark...
Clark all by herself is just as confusing, and is also, I think, the movie's one casting flaw. Everyone else has pathetic or underused characters but is still a bunch of talented, well put-together and probably highly paid actors who got to phone in decent performances. Emilia Clarke acts by wiggling around her very flexible eyebrows, and misses the mark on a pretty cliched lead character. Bubbly, optimistic, fashion-brave, care-free Clark comes across as a self-righteous snob who will insult employees for doing their job. She plays everything like a comedy bit, and couldn't capture any semblance of genuineness. Oddly, most off was her singing. She sings like a mouse. Bad singers who don't care just let it out -- especially with a silly song like that.
On to the main event. So Clark discovers that Will has made an agreement with his parents to stick around for six months and then they'll let him kill himself. Will's mom still hopes he'll change his mind and she and Clark plan adventures and trips to try and make him see that life isn't so bad, the final trip being a vacation to some expensive resort on a tropical island. On these trips Will pushes Clark out of her comfort zone in ways she never could have dreamed, let alone had access to without him. On their last night in the tropics, he tells her that he was never happier than in those past six months, and then he casually invites her to come to the suicide resort with him.
|And then they have a nice giggle about it and smile way too much to mask the fact that this movie is sick and disturbing.
First of all, WHAT?? If he doesn't want to die because he's unhappy then why does he want to die? Clark and others offer feeble arguments to all his reasoning, but none of the arguments are seen all the way through, because their natural conclusion is that he shouldn't kill himself. DUH. Unhappy? No, admittedly he is happy now. Quality of life? Granted, it's not at the extreme heights it was before, but he's still wealthy and surrounded by people who love him. Killing yourself because you can't skydive or windsurf anymore sounds more than a little petty and selfish. Very few fully able people have that kind of quality of life. Also he admits that the playboy him was a jerk and never would have given Clark a second look; seems like the accident made him a better person in the end. Then he says he wouldn't be able to stand being in a relationship with her without being able to have sex, which is also pretty petty, but I'll give him that one -- he should break up with her if that's how he feels. Suicide is maybe overkill in that scenario.
It seems to me that the only reason he has to kill himself is because he's disabled, not because the disability affects his life in any kind of significantly negative way. But the movie can't say that because it's evil and untrue. So they make up excuses.
So she's devastated because she thought she had changed his mind, and oh yeah, she's in love with him now, so she goes home and mopes... but then comes around before it's too late and they make up, with him on what will be his death bed. The argument the movie settles on -- for the sake of the romance -- is that he loves Clark so much he wants her to go live her life without him holding her back. So before he kills himself he creates an itinerary of adventure for her to complete after he's gone and gives her some money to "buy her freedom." The end of the film shows her sitting at a cafe in France, reading his final letter. Alone.
|Look at her: doesn't she look happy as she sits there ALL BY HERSELF READING THE WORDS OF THE MAN SHE LOVED WHO KILLED HIMSELF SO SHE COULD GO SIT ALONE??????
BS, honest and simple. There's no angle to look at this pile of crap that makes it even faintly resemble a beautiful, inspiring butterfly, but that's what we're constantly told it is. Are we really supposed to believe that her newfound capacity for travel is supposed to replace a relationship with a human being? It what world is her life better because she got to go to Paris alone? (And by the way, what exactly was it that stopped his going to France? Oh yeah, he wanted to be there as his old self... the playboy jerk who loved no one.) No -- her life was better because of him; it can't also be made better because he's gone. This story painted itself into a corner and stubbornly stuck to its ill-advised propaganda. A literal death grip.
What kind of message is this movie trying to send, anyway? Well obviously it's trying to push the "right to die" agenda and normalize assisted suicide. (I'm on Clark's cross-wearing mum on this point -- it's no better than murder. And also a fundamentally extremely deceitful idea.) But besides that, what does it accidentally imply at the same time? If you're unhappy you should be able to kill yourself. If your quality of life is in any way diminished from what it used to be or what you want it to be, you should be able to kill yourself. If someone loves you and wants to spend their life taking care of you, you're holding them back -- you should kill yourself. And most broadly: Selfish aspirations are more important than personal relationships. Essentially, the title -- you, before anything or anyone else.
|Talented actors Charles Dance and Janet McTeer as: Everyone as they realize what they just watched. Also probably: Them regretting their involvement in the project.
I sincerely hope I'm not the only one who noticed all these terrible ideas ingrained in this terrible, miserable movie. Briefly on the technical side: Of course I wasn't watching to enjoy myself or be involved in the story, but I never had to bother with any effort to keep myself from being pulled in. I was never tempted -- never even nudged to be emotionally moved. The movie was stale, unromantic, whitewashed moral excrement. Pooped out by a male cow, and smeared over pages of a book and a screenplay by an ignorant, misguided person armed with an agenda and absolutely no ability in or inclination toward critical thought.
I wish this story would kill itself. We would all definitely be better off without it.