The much-awaited film was dubbed by quadriplegic protesters as ‘disability snuff film.’
SPOILER ALERT: This is something that needs to be discussed.
With its star-studded lead cast featuring Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke, Hunger Games and Love Rosie’s Sam Claflin and Harry Potter’s Matthew Lewis, a chart-topper soundtrack from the award-winning singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, and a plot that seems to show us a story similar to The Fault in our Stars, people had been clamoring for Me Before You months before it was officially released in the cinemas.
While the alluring chemistry and acting prowess of Clarke and Claflin playing the roles of Louisa Clark and Will Traynor respectively, was able to make the moviegoers swoon and tear up, there is one thing that the movie managed to tremendously disappoint the audience with: the lack of sensitivity in tackling a delicate issue such as physical disability.
For those who have read the book of the same title written by Jojo Moyes, we already know what is disturbing about the story. The character of Will Traynor was involved in an accident that rendered him to become quadriplegic, while Louisa Clark is a cheerful, enthusiastic woman who became his care assistant. What happened next and Will’s decision is the matter of discussion in this story.
Me Before You: An insult to people with disabilities?
This much-awaited film was dubbed by quadriplegic protesters and advocates as ‘disability snuff film,’ advertising that a physically disabled person is only a burden to family and loved ones, also it justifies that such disability gives him the ‘better’ option of ending one’s life instead of persevering to live a purpose-driven life despite the challenge.
Will Traynor is a financially-stable man from a loving family who found the love of his life in the person of Louisa Clark who is willing to stay with him and help him find his passion in life once more. Not all quadriplegic persons have the same blessed circumstances. Aside from their disability, the impending fear of being abandoned by their loved ones is always there, not to mention that there is a very low employment rate for PWDs leaving them to live life without the necessary comfort and care they need.
The film’s director, Thea Sharrock told The Hollywood Reporter that the film is a fictional story about how important the right to choose is. Furthermore, the author of the book, Moyes said that the book was not a how-to manual for PWDs.
The film’s promotional tagline “Live Boldly” was not given justice if what they meant by it is Will choosing to die and giving his money to Louisa to let her live in comfort of money but in misery of his absence.
Instead, I salute all people with disabilities for living boldly, for not giving up in spite of the hurdles, the nightly cramps, and the frustration of not being able to do your job, hold your child, parents, or loved one. Live boldly and show the world that physical disability is not the end of the world but only the beginning of a world from a different perspective. (Kath Vicho)