Me Before You Hits Major Controversy Among Disabled Community — Find Out Why Some Aren’t Loving The Romance Film!

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Me Before You tells the story of an able-bodied woman (played by Emilia Clarke) who falls in love with the young quadriplegic man (played by Sam Claflin) for whom she is tasked to care.

That may sound sweet and benign, but it’s causing a LOT of controversy!

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The plot centers around Clarke’s character, Louisa, caring for Claflin’s character Will, and it eventually finds the two head over heels in love.

But it’s catching controversy from the disabled community for all the wrong reasons — and it has nothing to do with even the usual controversy that arises when able-bodied actors portray disabled people on camera!

No, this has to do with a specific plot point in the movie — so, if you haven’t seen it yet, warning — there are SPOILERS (below)!!!

The crux of the film comes when Will wants to commit suicide and free himself from his pain. That goes against Louisa’s wishes as she loves him, but she eventually relents and assists him in ending his life.

She follows it up by living out his dying wish for her to experience life without him.

That’s pretty heavy.

And it’s catching a LOT of heat from the disabled community, which has dropped the hashtag #MeBeforeEuthanasia on the film!

Zack Weinstein, an actor who is a quadriplegic after suffering a spinal injury in 2005, is very unhappy with the general message of the movie, saying:

“The message of this movie is that it’s better for this person to die in order to be of service to her than for him to live. Are you using [Will’s disability] to be emotionally manipulative? That has its place, but it’s very difficult to watch the facts of my life being used as the vehicle for that. What rubs me the wrong way as an actor and as somebody with a disability living in the real world is not that this story is being told. It’s that so frequently this is the only story of disability that is told.”

Another actor, Grant Albrecht, who has a spinal condition that is gradually taking away his ability to walk, says of the film and its euthanasia plot line:

“To romanticize cowardice is indeed perpetuating a stereotype for the sake of forsaking actual people with disabilities who are struggling to maintain their sanity and livelihood and aren’t given opportunities in Hollywood.”


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Both those actors are members of the roster of boutique acting agency KMR & Associates‘s diversity department, and the agency’s lead agent, Gail Williamson, concurs:

“Usually all I worry about is why they didn’t cast someone in a wheelchair, but this is a much bigger issue. The film is beautiful and the quirky love story is adorable, and I believe the public can be drawn in and not even realize the message the film is giving. How many people who see this film will leave with a new perception that people with spinal cord injuries are not of value?”

Screenriter Jojo Moyes has jumped in to defend her film, though, and reveals that her direct inspiration for this was a real life story that happened with the assisted-dying organization featured in the film:

“What I felt about creating a story like this is you have one man whose decision you might not agree with├óΓé¼┬ª but it would be very hard once you know who he is to judge him for the decision that he makes. We’re a very judgmental society and you never know really what goes on in someone’s mind or what experiences they’ve had to make that decision.”

Obviously, both sides have a point here — on the one hand, it’s just a movie, and its storyline, regardless of whether or not its offensive, is not meant to represent every disabled person; in fact, it’s apparently based on the decision of a REAL someone.

But on the other hand, disabled people have been represented very poorly in Hollywood over the years, and it’d make sense that a movie specifically about a quadriplegic’s disability should try to aim higher.

What do U think??

[Image via Warner Bros.]

Jun 6, 2016 5:20pm PDT

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