A new film by English director Thea Sharrock, Me Before You, has been met with scathing criticism from disability rights activists.
The film tells the story of a young paraplegic, Will, and his new carer, Lou, with whom he develops an unlikely romantic relationship. The film has the typical trappings of a Hollywood rom-com – stunning actors, wealth, castles – yet with one not so subtle twist: Will wants to be euthanized.
For those who haven’t read the eponymous book, I apologise for the spoiler. But despite their burgeoning romance, Will and Lou don’t live happily ever after. Unlike the similar film The Intouchables, the tenor of this story is the Will’s paraplegia is not worth enduring. He choses to end his life, despite Lou’s objections.
Disability rights activists protested at the premier of the film in London earlier this week, unveiling a placard that read: “Me Before You is not a romance. It is a disability snuff movie, giving audiences the message that if you’re a disabled person you’re better off dead.”
Writing in The Guardian, disability rights activist Penny Penner attacked the film’s ‘anti-disability’ message:
“A piece of fairytale romance is what it purports to be, but what perhaps is a clever device for writer Jojo Moyes, to me underlines the view that you are better off dead than a living, disabled burden on your loved ones.”
This article is published by
and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.