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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Me Before You (Blu-ray)
Me Before You (Blu-ray)
Warner Bros. // PG-13 // August 30, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted August 28, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

I'm told by my wife that Me Before You was a successful novel, and I saw the ads for the film adaptation before seeing this. Sometimes you do favors for your wife, because frankly, sometimes you do favors for your significant other. That's how things work, and when you go into a movie fresh, sometimes you get a surprise or two.

Jojo Moyes wrote the book, and she adapted it into a screenplay that Thea Sharrock directed. Will Traynor (Sam Claflin, The Huntsman) is a charismatic, athletic businessman who is struck by a motorcycle and rendered quadraplegic as a result. He goes through caretakers rapidly until he encounters Louisa (Game of Thrones). Louisa is with her own problems; he's just been let go from her most recent job, she works to partly support her family and she's not sure what else to do. She is offered the job to care for Will on a six month term with a lot of money, and the two develop feelings for one another, even as the truth about the six month ‘contract' is revealed.

What I enjoyed about Me Before You, other than the fact I didn't know really anything about it before coming in, was it allowed Louisa and Will the chance to develop a friendship, which later turned into a relationship, and it felt authentic as you watched it. A lesser movie would have had the disabled co-star notice the other star's hair, or smile, or interaction with someone, and grown smitten perhaps overnight. Me Before You doesn't do that because it's not honest to one of its characters and that honesty is strangely virtuous to the film. It gives you the awkward tension, the dropping of guards and the romance (or the closest thing to it) in a pragmatic manner and is refreshing to see.

This is the type of film that should have both actors, particularly Clarke, see some sort of breakthrough success from it. She's radiant as Louisa and shows off far more depth than her dragon princess type TV role does, and I'd hope that she gets bigger and better roles from this. Her scenes with Claflin have palpable charm and chemistry to them. Claflin does not get as much to do (and in the end, you could make the case that his character is a little bit of a selfish bastard), but he's got the rugged jawline and belief system going for him. Kind of like a brainier Alex Pettyfer.

If there is a qualm about the movie, it's that one of the decisions Will has made seems to be treated not as heavily as it should. It comes off at times feeling like a plane ticket that you're unsure about cancelling because of the fees associated with it. I appreciate what Me Before You wanted to do with it and what its intentions were, I don't think it executed them very well.

At times, Me Before You could have been a 21st century interpretation of Love Story, and the male and female leads had the chops to pull it off over the course of the movie. The ride had some bumps along the way and it was not altogether memorable, but it was different and engaging, and in Moyes, had the benefit of sticking to a source material that people enjoyed. And now I understand why.

The Blu-ray:
The Video:

MGM/Warner give Me Before You an AVC-encoded 2.40:1 widescreen transfer that generally looks good. Shot mainly in the U.K. and Wales, the green countryside and browns/greys of a castle and other structures appears natural, and Louisa's yellow jacket (later, her bee stockings) are vivid and have no noticeable saturation problems to mention. In closer shots, like when Will's face gets shaved, you see small bubbles in the foam and pores on his face. It's generally an excellent presentation.

The Sound:

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless track is solid, even if it doesn't get too much to do. The opening scene rainstorm is immersive and even has a slight touch of low end fidelity to it, quieter moments on a beach are clear. Generally the rear channels and channel panning do not get involved until necessary, but considering the source material (and its quiet, consistent dialogue in the center channel), you are not going to get a miracle.

The Extras:

"From Page to Screen" (6:16) looks at the work Moyes did in adapting the material to screen and her original idea for the story which became the book. The cast also talk about the story and share their thoughts on working with one another. Seven deleted scenes follow (6:11), as do some quick outtakes (2:15), though both are forgettable.

Final Thoughts:

Me Before You is definitely a romantic film, and the actors' performances (especially Clarke's) do a tremendous job of giving even the most grizzled viewer of romance films something they haven't seen too often. Technically it's a winner, and the extras are fine, but could have been better. Not without some issues, but Me Before You is worth the time to see nonetheless.

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