Hollywood loves a good scandal. Sometimes it can even save a film. Take the case of ‘Me Before You’, a film based on the novel by Jojo Moyes. The film is set to be released in 2020 and tells the story of an unlikely couple – Louisa, an independent and sharp-witted career woman, and Will, a dashing and sophisticated gentleman who teaches English at a private school. We watch as their forbidden attraction blooms and they fall in love. Unfortunately, Will is a widower with three daughters and Louisa is an independent woman of means who refuses to commit to a lifetime of servitude, so their idyll is doomed to end in tragedy.
The film’s trailer has already proven to be quite the talking point, with critics and audiences alike pondering whether or not Louisa and Will’s budding romance will be worthy of a Hollywood screen romance. In early January 2020, the trailer was watched by over 16.2 million people on YouTube alone, making it the most-watched trailer of all time.
The trailer suggests that Louisa and Will’s romance will be quite the romance of the silver screen, pitting the refined gentleness of the English gentleman against the independent streak of the American blonde. The trailer teases an elaborate love story, complete with elaborate wedding preparations and a fair share of emotional highs and lows. For those reasons, it’s fair to say that we’re in for a treat.
While we wait to see how ‘Me Before You’ plays out, let’s take a closer look at what is perhaps the most talked-about romantic partnership in recent Hollywood history.
The Making Of A Hollywood Celebrity Couple
Touted as one of the most famous celebrity marriages of all time, it wasn’t long ago that we were wondering if Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart’s romance would even make it to the altar. After dating for a few months, the couple decided to take the plunge and went on a wedding trip to Italy in September 2019. It was, by all accounts, a beautiful ceremony. Following the ceremony, the newlyweds made their grand entrance and were greeted by their guests, including several A-list actresses and musicians.
It seems that everyone wanted a piece of the couple. Soon after the ceremony, paparazzi caught sight of the newlyweds and began to swarm them. It was then that things took a turn for the worse. While leaving the altar, Robert suddenly stopped and turned toward Kristen, their eyes meeting and locking in an intimate connection that left onlookers breathless. It was, by all accounts, one of the most romantic moments of the day. Unfortunately, this isn’t the last we’ve heard from the couple – they’ve reportedly been spending lots of time together ever since. It seems that everyone wants a piece of this Hollywood celebrity couple and it’s not hard to see why. The two are incredibly compatible and seem to have a natural rapport, which Hollywood certainly doesn’t lack.
One of the things that makes ‘Me Before You’ so interesting is that the film’s trailer suggests that there will be plenty of romantic risk-taking. In a time when most Hollywood blockbusters are safe and PG-rated, ‘Me Before You’ looks likely to buck the trend and offer an R-rated love story with plenty of steamy scenes (according to some critics, at least).
While many will undoubtedly relish in the fact that ‘Me Before You’ offers a romance that’s slightly more risqué, it’s not quite as daring as it could be. For starters, Will and Louisa’s romance is doomed from the beginning. From the outset, Louisa is adamant that they should never touch each other. While the character could be interpreted as a bit strong-willed, it’s quite possible that the actress playing her –Saoirse Ronan– requested the part because she wanted to push the envelope and prove to Hollywood that she was capable of playing a strong woman. There’s also the matter of her mother, played by Alicia Vikander, a cold and menacing woman who is not at all pleased to see her daughter courting an Englishman. For their part, Will and his three daughters are also quite protective of their youngest sister, Bee, who is played by Ella Anderson, and aren’t beyond inflicting a little bit of harm in order to keep her safe. Perhaps the most romantic moment of the entire film will be the very last one, when Will realizes that it’s not safe for Louisa to be around his daughters and makes a move to protect her. Even then, it’s quite possible that he’ll break one of the girl’s necks during the process.
Hollywood’s Attitude Toward Gender Roles
While romance in ‘Me Before You’ is between a man and a woman, it is the women who hold the reins in terms of power. At least, this is how the trailer and the media have interpreted this forbidden romance. Even the character of Will, who is ostensibly the ‘romantic lead’, behaves with certain gender norms in his eyes and expects the women in his life to play subservient roles. It isn’t hard to see how this idea has been perpetuated by the film’s trailer, which shows off Will’s debonair charm and self-assurance, as well as his tendency to boss the women in his life around. This is, however, in stark contrast to the independent and self-sufficient nature that Louisa exudes. The point is that Will and Louisa’s romance is a very traditional one and doesn’t offer an equally balanced partnership.
It seems that the film adaptation of ‘Me Before You’ will tread a similar path to the source material and offer a love story with a happy ending. However, the film’s trailer suggests that this might not be the case. For starters, even in the novel, the ending is somewhat bittersweet, with the couple’s decision to remain independent being more bittersweet than sweet. The trailer suggests that this theme will be continued in the film, with Will’s three daughters offering an obstacle to the marriage. While the character of Will might be an English gentleman in name, the trailer suggests that he isn’t necessarily a nice guy. The daughters, especially the middle one, Madison, are more than happy to stand in the way of their father’s reconciliation with Louisa. In one scene, Madison even offers to hold off on her college tuition in exchange for the chance to be with her family.
Whether or not the film ends up following the same path as the trailer is yet to be seen, but at least for now, it would appear that Will’s daughters are more than happy to stand in the way of their father’s relationship with another woman, which is, perhaps, a reflection of how their mother and sister feel about the liaison. While it’s good to see that the film will offer a hopeful ending, it’s fair to say that this won’t be something to celebrate. For now, it seems that the patriarchy win, at least in terms of this marriage.
So, what will ‘Me Before You’ offer to audiences? As discussed, the film is based on the novel by renowned author, Jojo Moyes, so it’s fair to say that we’re in for a treat. For starters, it’s safe to assume that the film will continue to tackle relevant social issues. In this case, the main issue will be gender equality, as the trailer suggests that the romance is based on unequal power dynamics and that men hold the highest cards. It seems that the film will offer a window into the complicated and often hostile world of romance in the modern day. As it’s been noted, ‘Me Before You’ is quite likely to offer a glamorous and fairytale-like romance, complete with an English accent and plenty of emotional highs and lows. While some might disapprove of the film’s subject matter, it’s fair to say that it’s not for the faint-hearted. What is certain is that it will be an interesting journey, which is, after all, what Hollywood is all about.