Starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, Me Before You is being pitched a romantic tear-jerker.
The central plot revolves around Will (Claflin), a man who became paralyzed due to a car accident and Louisa (Clarke), his new caretaker. But before Louisa arrives on the scene, Will has already decided that he would like to pursue assisted suicide. And that’s where the problems begin.
When many groups within the disabled community caught wind of the movie, they were not thrilled (please note: most, not all. We do not intent to speak on behalf of the entire disable community). A group of activists even protested the London premiere.
Ellen Clifford, a disabled activist from the group Not Dead Yet, told Buzzfeed,
“The message of the film is that disability is tragedy and disabled people are better off dead. It comes from a dominant narrative carried by society and the mainstream media that says it is a terrible thing to be disabled.”
That’s horrible! We can’t imagine what it must feel like to see your community depicted in such a way, and in such a major film.
A couple weeks ago another disability activist, Emily Ladau wrote a beautiful and articulate think piece from her perspective on the film, explaining,
Yes, disability can be a messy, agonizing, and emotionally trying part of life, but far too many mainstream outlets portray disability in ways far from everyday reality for the millions of people who live in disabled bodies. We can thrive. We can leave our homes, hold jobs, have families, love, laugh, and live our lives. This isn’t radical thinking. It isn’t inspiring. It’s just the truth. Disabled people are so much more than objects of pity or props for a romantic denouement. And it’s time the media starts realizing this.”
“Every time the media thoughtlessly throws around these messages about disability, it’s a painful reminder of how the existence of the disability community is so often perceived.”
These viewpoints have not gone unnoticed by the film’s creators and stars.
Emilia Clarke told The Guardian,
“We were very careful with how we wanted to present things. And we are showing a situation, we are not showing an opinion.”
We encourage you to read Emily’s full essay on Salon.com here and decide for yourself.
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