This post contains spoilers for the new film, Me Before You.
As readers of the best-selling novel by author Jojo Moyes are well-aware, the story of the new film Me Before You concludes with Sam Clafin’s disabled character’s self-inflicted demise, even after falling for (and finding happiness with!) Emilia Clarke’s able-bodied character. She even assists him in his suicide.
The ending — and the film in general — have proved troubling to many, especially people with disabilities. Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, spoke on behalf of the organization, and expressed his disappointment with the film. He tells Indiewire that the film “presents a deeply troubling message to our society about people with disabilities. To the millions of people with significant disabilities currently leading fulfilling, rich lives, it posits that they are better off committing suicide.”
Fans of the novel will likely stand in opposition to Ruderman, seeing as there’s usually disapproval when directors decide to diverge from the original story, especially with an ending with such “shock-value.” But Sharrock stands steadfast in her belief that the movie’s ending should abide by the book’s.
She proposes, “Can you imagine it coming out now and we would be saying, ‘It’s exactly like the book. It’s just we have this whole new take on the ending.”
The problematic aspect of the ending is less about the adaption and more about the origin of this idea. Despite all of his privileges as a wealthy, young, white male who happens to be hot as hell, his disability is, apparently, still enough for him to want to end his life.
Flavorwire writer Kristen Lopez neatly expressed the problem with the film last week. “In many ways, ‘Me Before You’ is a fantasy for both the abled and disabled…For most disabled people, who struggle to stay above the poverty line, Me Before You only emphasizes how selfish Will is for ending his life. He never struggles to pay his bills, afford medication, or get from A to B.”