I have been waiting impatiently for the release of the movie based on the bestselling novel by JoJo Moyes. Tonight, I had the pleasure of sitting through this stellar production. Others will review this film and offer their opinions on the meanings behind each and every choice made by the characters. That's not my intention here. Instead, I'd prefer to focus on the two main characters and the actors that brought them to life because, honestly, they made the movie shine.
Will Traynor Portrayed by Sam Claflin
If you've seen the Hunger Games, you've seen Sam Claflin, but you haven't seen him like this. Playing the role of a quadriplegic, Sam undertook a physical transformation prior to the filming that was, quite simply, brutal. Sam told US Weekly that he shed more than 42 pounds for the role, existing on very little sleep and a strict diet. He wanted to look the part, and he succeeded.
Beyond the changes he made to his body, Sam invested his spirit into this character. This wasn't just a role he was playing; for a moment in time, he'd become Will Traynor, a man solely dependent upon everyone around him for even the slightest of needs.
The depth of pain in Sam's eyes as he watched the people around him live a life he'd never live again brought tears to my own. His voice cracked when he spoke of what he'd lost, and he took the audience members with him on his journey of despair. Simply put, it was a magnificent role, one he wore like a tailor-made suit.
Lou Clark Portrayed By Emilia Clarke
Any Game of Thrones fan knows who Emilia Clarke is, but she lays aside the mantle of Queen of Dragons in Me Before You, taking on the role of a the slightly naive, always cheerful caretaker for Will Traynor. Gone are the vestiges of power when Emilia sweeps into the room with nervous steps in unique shoes and giggles and grins.
Watching Emilia in this movie is nothing short of a treat. Though only twenty-nine, she brings a depth of emotion and star quality that is befitting actresses twice her age. And for close to two hours, she mesmerizes as this character with an odd sense of style and plucky determination.
Emilia played the role to perfection, making the audience laugh and cry with her as though we weren't just witnessing a character on a screen. She took us into the life of Lou Clark and gave us a glimpse of a woman still trying to find her way in the world. It's nothing short of brilliant.
Not everyone will like Me Before You, but I would be surprised if there is a person who wouldn't be intrigued by both of these characters and the celebrities that brought them to life. If nothing else, watch the movie for these performances.