Me Before You

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Directed by: Thea SharrockMe Before You

Writer: Jojo Moyes – Screenplay and Novel

Starring: Sam Claflin, Emilia Clarke, Vanessa Kirby, Eileen Dunwoodie, Pablo Raybould, Gabrielle Downey, Steve Peacocke and Henri Charles.

When Lou Clark (Emilia Clarke) loses her job as a waitress at a café, she takes a position as a carer for the cantankerous quadriplegic, Will Traynor (Sam Claflin).

Born the eternal optimist, Lou works at winning a smile from a man who is literally on suicide watch.

Me Before You follows the relationship between Lou and Will, taking the audience through the highs and lows of a once adrenaline junky who had life in the palm of his hand to a man completely reliant on others to function in life or to even get out of bed.

So, between the super cheesy soundtrack, the Mary Poppins reincarnation exhibiting the most expressive eyebrows I’ve ever seen on film and a storyline made to squeeze tears, you can guess I’m not a fan of these drama/romance/tear jerkers!

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I can also say that Me Before You was a heartfelt story with lovely moments and well-paced drama.

I couldn’t help but love Lou (even with those eyebrows), with her quirky outfits and genuine love of life and people: I’ve never hated anyone,’ she says.  And yes, she’s believable if not ditzy.

Will Traynor was suitably irritable, with the two characters set up in a narrative formula of cranky meets sweet.

Aussie actor Steve Peacocke as Nathan was a pleasant surprise: a no nonsense nurse who takes on the heavy lifting – a practical character who added a realistic view of Sam’s injury.

But the cheese of the soundtrack!

Look, I felt this movie, I really did.  There were tears and not a dry eye in the cinema.  And it wasn’t because it was all sad and disability, there was mostly a lightness, carried by the optimistic Lou. But, it’s a story made to pull the heart strings – romance crossed with the tragedy of debilitating injury leading to the controversial contemplation of euthanasia.  Not a storyline I’d usually go for, but a film well-paced with thought put into the characters and effort put into the build of the relationship between Sam and Lou.

If this is your sort of movie, yeah, it’s great.  But you need to be in the mood for this one.  Make sure to bring the tissues.

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Whisky Tango Foxtrot

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Directed by: Glenn Ficarra, John RequaWhisky Tango Foxtrot

Screenplay: Robert Carlock

Based on: ‘The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan,’ by Kim Barker

Starring: Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina, Billy Bob Thorton, Steve Peacocke; Christopher Abbott.

Comedy/War/Drama?

Kim is a 40 year old copy writer who spends her time on an exercise bike going no-where.  No matter how hard she peddles, Kim just isn’t getting anywhere.  Her life is going backwards.

Presented with an opportunity to get out from behind a desk and report in front of a camera in Afghanistan, Kim leaves her boyfriend and comfortable life for the chaos of the Kabul Bubble where shit literally flies through the air.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot (I’m thinking military speak for WTF) is a juxtaposition of genres: war, comedy and drama.

It’s hard to categorise Whisky Tango Foxtrot.  There’s some dark humour here: Kabul International Airport A.K.A Killed In Action.  But I would say this movie is a drama with the main character, Kim Barker (Tina Fey), having a midlife crisis.

At the beginning, I was concerned the film was falling firmly on the ‘My life journey’ style of film, but thankfully, with the introduction of characters in Afghanistan, the film took off on its own journey with the focus on the characters and the reality of life in the ‘ka-bubble’.  

I wouldn’t call the film a comedy, even though Tina Fey (known for her parts as a comedian) is the protagonist, but there are funny moments with the misunderstandings between different cultures, and the inherent humour of Iain, the Scottish photographer.  Yes, this is mostly a drama with the elements of war: gun fire, bombs blasting and drones flying, played over with a sometimes cheesy soundtrack.  It was a strange juxtaposition between this romantic drama and comedy set on a backdrop of the war in Afghanistan.  This wasn’t a MASH situation.  There were some serious thought-provoking moments.  And it worked.

I enjoyed watching this film because I liked the characters.  The translator, Fahim Ahmadzai (Christopher Abbott) was a standout with warm eyes and a genuine soul; then there’s the security guy Nic (Steve Peacocke), fellow journalist, Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie) – yes the film was heavy on the Aussie actors not that it’s a bad thing!  Then there’s the photographer Iain MacKelpie (Martin Freeman), the politician Ali Massoud Sadiq (Alfred Molina), the general Hallanek (Billy Bob Thorton) and then the people of Afghanistan.

This was a well-rounded story, and yes, it was heart-warming.

It was just some of the moments were strange.  For example, Kate reporting in front of the camera only to realise she’s standing near a dead body hidden under rubble but for an arm.  Not funny, just a bit strange.

The mission undertaken by marines with the green of night vision but with a romantic soundtrack playing, also strange.

But the strength of the storyline with the careful handling of the characters by directors, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011); Focus (2015)), Whisky Tango Foxtrot was an enjoyable film to watch.

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