Me Before You online movie review - The "Processed Cheese" of a, Euthanasia ye?/Ne?, flick.
Not a bad movie per se but a little too thin on depicting the more thorny aspects.
I can see why some found reason to get annoyed about the aspect of the girl winning "Big time" from him having so much money and being able to help her (hey I used a DT adjective for those on the wrong side of the Atlantic).
Her choice of a rich paraplegic makes it too tidy. The burdens on the characters were conveniently just of a personal attachment dynamic. The truth is that for most paraplegics the carers are also often suffering a great deal and not just emotionally. They could be exhausted physically, emotionally, socially excluded and even financially depleted.
It could have more interesting if it had been realistically complex. One person may have selfish reasons for even wanting him to die. There could be many push-pull factors from both the paraplegic perspective and from the motive/emotions of their friends and family and even layers within this. The film is quite planar. So flat and uncomplicated that it really doesn't live up to the potential of a good thought provoking story.
What annoyed was how it sanitised, trivialised and glossed over the issues related to being paralysed. It was a bit too fluffy. I am not saying the director should have Ken Loach'd it and I am pretty sure the director didn't intend to preach, "educate" or takes sides but there were some obvious and probably deliberate omissions that if they had been included could have made the story more compelling.
It puzzles me why the director has so deliberately glossed over nearly the nitty gritty bits. The scene where Lou sees the bathroom commode chair and her body language says she is shocked by the implications of this equipment. This much rings true.
When she asks the nurse "What if he needs to..???"(crap) she is rescued by the the male nurse who says "no.. don't worry, your not here to do any of the physical stuff'.. almost like the director was copping-out of dealing with all those issues and telling us so at the beginning.
By not facing any of these issues in any depth the audience are never in the least enlightened about the plethora of "little problems" that add up to despair. The fact he is extremely rich and handsome enables the director to "compartmentalise" these issues and to shelve the more difficult subjects. For most carers there are very limited "resources". Carers, usually spouses, have to deal with everything from medication to changing diapers. What about if the genders were reversed and the person paralysed was a woman!
Paralysis and consequential heath issues. Anyone who has experience of being a carer will know that if you cannot move yourself it can lead to bedsores and other problems related to immobility. The nurse mentions some of the body's regulatory issues but not any of the other day to day stuff.
These issues could have been a very good counterpoint to her naive "can I make tea" question. Only once do you see her adjusting his pillow. I am sure his buttocks would have been much more sore than his neck! A paralysed person who can feel but not move their legs may need them to be moved constantly just as we constantly adjust ours when we are sitting.
He is always seen in a bed or the wheelchair. What about cleaning his teeth, washing, eating, shitting, drinking, or just trying to get comfortable? there is plenty of room for humour and depth in these subjects that could have added to portraying the suffering that a paralysed person faces.
Among the matters not portrayed is how hard it is to get dressed, to be washed, the complete lack of privacy in going to the toilet etc. Even the period of adjustment from the time of the injury to having no privacy at all and having to be washed and dressed by strangers or even worse by an exhausted and frustrated spouse.
Unhelpful Advice The was very lightly covered by the boyfriend offering advice on physiotherapy. Over the past 12 years I have had advice from so many well wishing people who have heard of a "miracle" cure, a relative who had a remarkable recovery from the "same condition", and so on and so on. Even I have done the same to others? it is in our human nature to want to help but boy does it get depressing to be on the receiving end of often useless advice. One matter was dealt with subtly and quite well was the issue of people talking over the person in the wheelchair as though they were deaf or incapable of deciding anything for themselves.
Social Capital "Mother, Please don't speak over me. I am can speak for myself?". This very lightly covers the issue of the potential for a vastly diminished social capital. Not being able to get out and about and contribute to any project or engage in activities with your able bodied friends slowly isolates you. This is hinted at by the issue of the previous girlfriend but again not dealt with in any depth.
Euthanasia, the "right to choose? When you are dealing with a subject as sensitive and as unexplored in cinema as this, I think it comes with some sort of burden of responsibility. In this matter I think the film has missed many opportunities and almost trivialised the core subject in the process. The parents are very well educated and liberal? too easy. What if he were married and had a religious wife? More complex alternative scenarios would have made this more thought provoking.
Overall it is a well manicured but very Hollywood no-brainer type movie which doesn't really do anything to educate or stimulate thoughtful discussion in the general able- bodied public.