The thesis statement for this essay is based on the movie Me Before You, a novel about an unbelievable love between a young woman who was too afraid to explore places outside her hometown and a wealthy quadriplegic who had given up on life and was ready to undergo assisted suicide, gained more criticisms and stirred more protests from disability groups for its film version, (as compared with the protests and criticisms that the book version received), when the film emphasized death as the only option left for people who have disability. However that is not the thesis for the essay, just some background facts regarding the essay. This focus and/or thesis of this essay will give background to the book and movie and discuss how greatly the movie version of the book diverges from the book Me Before You. It will also discuss the writers of the book and film version. It will also give information of the launch of the book and the film. As well as the basis of the movie’s and the book’s plot. This essay will also discuss changes that were made from the book for the film version.
In The film Version of Me Before You that resulted to a more blurry story about a quadriplegic who had given up on life and was ready to undergo assisted suicide and stirred more protests from disability groups. The film failed to explain why Luisa was too afraid to explore places outside her hometown, which was revealed in the book as the sexual assault she experienced when she was in High school. The film version never mentioned anything about this significant event in Luisa’s life and movie audience are left thinking about the reason why Luisa’s character is inexplicably too servile and fond of menial jobs like waitressing or caregiving to an obnoxious quadriplegic, Will. The film failed to emphasize the lack of love within the family of the wealthy quadriplegic that made Will felt like he needed to die. In fact, the book version showed the philandering father of Will. The film left out the mistress of Will’s father. This is important to the story because Will’s parents were too busy with their own lives to have time to care for him so they had to hire a chatty caregiver like Luisa who had zero knowledge about caregiving and nursing. The book emphasized the heavy burden on Will’s shoulder by letting his sister seek help from Luisa on taking good care of Will. The film removed the sister’s character and the subplot was twisted so that Luisa’s character became an eavesdropping rumormonger who deliberately listened to private conversations of Will’s parents about Will’s plan to die six months later. The book mentioned the phrases “euthanasia,” suicide, and ending one’s life but the film deliberately avoided using the word “euthanasia” because the film makers hoped that the audience would be moved by the sheer warmth of the love between Will and Luisa.
The Book Versus The Film
The film version was launched in June of 2016. The book tie-in to the movie was released in April of 2016. The actual book was released on September 29, 2015 by Pamela Dorman Books. Here is some information about the plot:
Twenty-six-year-old Louisa Clark lives with her working-class family. Unambitious and with few qualifications, she feels constantly outshone by her younger sister, Treena, an outgoing single mother. Louisa, who helps support her family, loses her job at a local cafe. She goes to the Job Centre and, after several failed attempts, is offered a unique employment opportunity: help care for Will Traynor, a successful, wealthy, and once-active young man who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident two years earlier. Will's mother, Camilla, hires Louisa despite her lack of experience, believing Louisa can brighten his spirit. Louisa meets Nathan, who cares for Will's medical needs, and Will's father, Steven, a friendly upper-class businessman whose marriage to Camilla is strained. Louisa and Will's relationship starts out rocky due to his bitterness and resentment over being disabled. Things worsen after Will's ex-girlfriend, Alicia, and best friend Rupert reveal that they are getting married. Under Louisa's care, Will gradually becomes more communicative and open-minded as they share experiences together. Louisa notices Will's scarred wrists and later overhears his mother and sister discussing how he attempted suicide shortly after Camilla refused his request to end his life through Dignitas, a Swiss-based assisted suicide organization. Horrified by his attempt, Camilla promised to honour her son's wish, but only if he agreed to live six more months. Camilla intends to prove that, in time, he will believe his life's worth living. Louisa conceals knowing about Will and Camilla's agreement. However, she tells Treena, and together they devise ways that will help convince Will to abandon his death wish. Over the next few weeks, Will loosens up and lets Louisa shave his beard and cut his shaggy hair. Louisa begins taking Will on outings and the two grow closer. Through their frequent talks, Louisa learns that Will has travelled extensively; his favourite place is a cafe in Paris. Noticing how limited her life is and that she has few ambitions, Will tries to motivate Louisa to change. Louisa continues seeing her long-time boyfriend, Patrick, though they eventually break up due to her relationship with Will. Meanwhile, Louisa's father loses his job, causing more financial difficulties. Fortunately, Mr. Traynor offers Mr. Clark a position. Louisa realises that Will is trying to help her secure her freedom from her family. The two attend Alicia and Rupert's wedding where they dance and flirt. Will tells Louisa that she is the only reason he wakes in the morning. Louisa convinces Will to go on a holiday with her, but before they can leave, Will contracts near fatal pneumonia. Louisa cancels the plans for a whirlwind trip. Instead, she takes Will to the island of Mauritius. The night before returning home, Louisa tells Will that she loves him. Will says he wants to confide something, but she admits that she already knows about his plans with Dignitas. Will says their time together has been special, but he cannot bear to live in a wheelchair. He will be following through with his plans. Angry and hurt, Louisa storms off and does not speak to him for the remainder of the trip. When they return home, Will's parents are pleasantly surprised by his good physical condition. Louisa, however, resigns as his caretaker, and they understand that Will intends to end his life. On the night of Will's flight to Switzerland, Louisa visits him one last time. They agree that the past six months have been the best in their lives. He dies shortly after in the clinic, and it is revealed that he left Louisa a considerable inheritance, meant to continue her education and to fully experience life. The novel ends with Louisa at a cafe in Paris, reading Will's last words to her in a letter, that tell her to ‘live well’ (McClurg, June 1, 2015).
Here are some differences between the book and the film.
There is a particularly poignant part in the book when Louisa has a panic attack in a maze and confesses to Will that it was actually the scene of an attack on her several years earlier. In the written version it is never explicitly stated, but it is heavily alluded to, that Louisa was gang raped in the maze when she was younger. It was quite an important subplot in the book as it explained some elements of Louisa’s character to us. But filmgoers will be unaware of the backstory as it ended up being cut from the film. And that wasn’t for the lack of trying. The scene was actually filmed but they just couldn’t get it to work, as Moyes revealed: “The biggest thing [missing], I think, was the main scene where Louisa confesses to Will the details of a kind of assault on her when she was younger.” The author, who also worked as screenwriter on the movie, explained that they originally had it in and they spent six months “rewriting it and rewriting it”. But it just didn’t translate on screen. “I think that was such an interesting example to me of the difference between the book and the film because in the book she refers to it in almost a throwaway line, she doesn’t spell out what happened, and you can’t do that visually. You can’t throw that away and not be respectful to the issue. So we tried and tried and tried, and in the end we just had to accept that to put that in and give it the weight the subject deserves unbalanced the whole film because it then changes a) the tone of the film and b) it changes her relationship with everything, and so we had to lose that” (Dadds, June 6, 2016).
As well what is missing from the movie that is in the book is the following.
In the book there is another subplot in which Will’s dad, Stephen, is having an affair with a red-headed mistress and is even looking to divorce Will’s mum. But that whole story is missing from the film, because it detracted too much from the main story. Although again the filmmakers did attempt to include it at first. Moyes explained: “We did film it but that was just an editing thing. And again what we found is when you know about the affair it actually changes the way the audience feels, when you have those tender moments between the parents towards the end, because you’re not focusing on Louisa and Will, which is the important bit at that point. You’re focusing on the fact he’s touching her shoulder and you go, ‘Oh, perhaps they’re getting back together’” (Dadds, June 6, 2016).
Another thing that is missing from the movie that was in the book is the following.
Not only is the affair excluded altogether, but the parents seem pretty strong in the final cut. They’re very supportive of each other, and although they disagree at first over Will’s decision, they put on a united front. So after trying to include the affair, they stripped it all back and kept them as a happy, solid couple. “You know, it changes your emotional focus,” said Moyes. “But all that stuff you only find out once you’re on set. That’s what I found really fascinating to me as a writer” (Dadds, June 6, 2016).
As well, Will does not have a sister in the book.
Will’s sister Georgina isn’t even referred to in the film; although in the book it’s actually his sibling who informs Lou about his plans to kill himself. She’s also angry about the situation and yells at him: “Has it ever occurred to you, Will, that, believe it or not, this might not be just about you?” But the film team decided to write the movie without her existing as she wasn’t essential to the rest of the storyline. “You have to pare out anything that’s nonessential and what we worked out over a period of months was that Georgina wasn’t really adding anything to the story, so in the interests of keeping it close she had to go,” Moyes explained (Dadds, June 6, 2016).
The thesis statement for this essay is based on the movie Me Before You, a novel about an unbelievable love between a young woman who was too afraid to explore places outside her hometown and a wealthy quadriplegic who had given up on life and was ready to undergo assisted suicide, gained more criticisms and stirred more protests from disability groups for its film version, (as compared with the protests and criticisms that the book version received), when the film emphasized death as the only option left for people who have disability. However that is not the thesis for the essay, just some background facts regarding the essay. This focus and/or thesis of this essay will give background to the book and movie and discuss how greatly the movie version of the book diverges from the book Me Before You. It discussed the writers of the book and film version. It will also give information of the launch of the book and the film. As well as the basis of the movie’s and the book’s plot. This essay discussed changes that were made from the book for the film version.