Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Opposites Attract: Me Before You

You don't need to be familiar with Jojo Moyes' popular novel Me Before You to know what happens in this adaptation. The poster art and the trailer give that away; although you can still enjoy and shed a tear watching the bittersweet romance reach its conclusion.

Me Before You follows the same narrative as "disease of the week" films such as The Intouchables, The Fault in our Stars, and You're Not You - but in a lovely, British kind of way.

Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke stars as Louisa Clark, and gives the story warmth and heart as a cheerful, small-town, working-class brunette - proving she can do more than free slaves and fly dragons. Quick to smile and with her heart on her sleeve - not to mention the extremely expressive eyebrows - Clark is delightful as a caregiver to smart, wealthy and angry 31-year-old Will Traynor (Claflin), who is living as a quadriplegic after an accident.

Louisa and Will don't like each other much at first, but inevitably, the attraction of opposites kicks in. Louisa's bumbling chattiness and Will's sharp wit, along with some lovely chemistry between Clarke and Claflin, makes it fun watching their relationship blossom.

Beneath the light entertainment lies the more serious and delicate subject matter; the right to die with dignity.

The screenplay, also written by Moyes, gives Will the most articulate voice, with other characters taking a simple for or against stance, or, like Louisa, just not knowing what to think.

While euthanasia should be the most thought-provoking ingredient, Moyes and first-time feature director Thea Sharrock struggle to present a strong point of view on the confronting subject.

Instead, they focus on the positive and upbeat, such as how Will instills in Louisa a new zest for life. This does make Me Before You an easier watch than you'd expect, but its two competent leads could have handled more.

And what's more, the attempt to be predominantly uplifting rather than heartbreaking doesn't quite get there - it's hard to imagine walking out of the cinema feeling anything but a little sad.

Me Before You
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin
Director: Thea Sharrock
Running Time: 110 mins
Rating: PG (Coarse language and sexual references)
Verdict: Emila Clarke lifts this weepy, predictable romance.

- Weekend magazine

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