Louisa Clark (Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke) desperately needs a job to help support her family. Unfortunately, she has little to no experience in the job she backs into: that of caregiver for permanently paralyzed ex-banker, Will Traynor (Sam Claflin, The Hunger Games and Huntsman franchises). What the two experience over the next few months is full of love and life, but which is destined for tragedy.
Using a screenplay that JoJo Moyes adapted from her own novel, the story follows the general dips and turns (my wife tells me so). This means that for the first half, it generally follows the uncomfortable narratives of a young man and a young woman working through their issues as they begin a tender tango. This half of the storyline is laugh-outloud funny, well-acted, well-edited, and absolutely clever.
But the frustration Traynor feels over his state – and honestly, none of us can really imagine what it would be like to be him – has a terminal point: he intends to be euthanized. When Clark finds out, she’s devastated – and exhibits quite a few of the levels we associate with grief. She’s bent on doing something about it, and she certainly tries.
This is a story that has polarized people for years (both as a novel and a movie), because of the outcome. It’s certainly troubling to me as a minister and someone who wrestles with big picture questions as a person of faith. Is Traynor right? Does he really not have any options? Or is there another purpose? I think the discussion is a healthy one for us to consider.
There’s another thing that troubled me: Traynor sees money as Clark’s ticket out. He’s sure that her life would be significantly better if he’d just give her money and help her escape what ‘holds her back.’ In the end, I was more troubled by that than his decision – because the end result was that world travels (thanks to money) were the equivalent of happiness. That’s a dangerous drug to take, whether we can accept Traynor’s desire to end his own life or not.
The Blu-ray includes special features like the adaptation from novel to screen.