Note: this post is based solely on the movie adaption as I have not read the book. So, strangely, I watched Me Before You a couple of ...

Louisa Clark and the Meaning of Living Well

Note: this post is based solely on the movie adaption as I have not read the book.

So, strangely, I watched Me Before You a couple of weekends ago. I know. It’s not really a me-movie (I love romance as a subplot, but I don’t always love the genre); however, I happened to be shelving our new copy at work and thought, “Why not?”

My overall opinion of the movie: I loved it. Only fifteen minutes in, and I already adored everything because the characters were fantastic and the acting was superb and I hated that I loved it because I knew it would break me. And it did. If I was not as hardened as I am when it comes to fiction, I probably would’ve bawled. Long and loud. As it was, I sat at my desk, sniffled a bit, and thought about how stunningly feels-full the last 100 minutes of my life had been.

But later, as I got to thinking about the movie, I realized there was one thing that annoyed me.

Lou before Will is a charming, sweet, quirky young woman working at a local cafe. She’s kind, helpful, friendly; in her very first scene, it’s clear that she’s fairly known in her community and loved by everyone she meets. Because of her family’s financial troubles, much of the money she makes goes to supporting them—but that doesn’t seem to bother her. She doesn’t feel restricted or empty; in fact, she’s happy with her job, happy with her life, happy to continue helping her family, and spend every extra moment with them. She did seem to have some slight regret over not being able to return to school, however, I saw nothing of her feeling stunted or unfulfilled. True, she didn’t become a world-famous fashion designer, but she seemed to have come to terms with that, replacing that childhood dream with her new life, one she was delighted to be living.

Yet, throughout the movie, she was portrayed as someone who needed to change. Someone who wasn’t living her life to the fullest, a girl who needed to... “get out more.” Experience something beyond her small village.

But based on my view of her, I have to disagree.

Yes, in many cases, characters (and people) feel stunted in small towns. Like they need to grow beyond that small circle if they’re ever going to live the life they desire. Clearly, that was the case for Treena, Lou’s sister, who was practically desperate to return to school and get her degree. Also, probably for Patrick; not excusing any of his actions, but living life to the fullest for him clearly meant the athletics, running faster, getting stronger, winning competitions, those things made him feel fulfilled.

But the thing that makes one person feel fulfilled isn’t the same thing for every person, so living life to the fullest won’t look the same for everyone; some people need to move far away to achieve that, others can do it right where they are.

The movie version of Lou clearly felt most fulfilled in meaningful relationships. She wanted to reach out to the people around her, to see that special smile on their faces, to know that something she did had made their day better. She didn’t need worldwide trips or university degrees; she just wanted to know that she had made a bad day bright, that she had fulfilled a gap in someone’s life, and made some small difference for them.

And she did! She was helping elderly ladies and supporting her family long before Will Traynor came along. And it’s true that he showed her new things and new places, but I honestly believe that a large portion of the reason she enjoyed those things (particularly the trips) was because she was with him, because for the first time in two years, he smiled. Because she could see him actually beginning to enjoy life again. She had developed a meaningful relationship with Will and was flourishing within it and because of it, but it was one of many, an experience of many experiences, a relationship of many relationships, all of which together made up her entire life. I don’t think she would’ve been better off if she hadn’t met him, but she also didn’t needhim to broaden her horizons and show her real life.

Aside from Patrick, Louisa Clark was already fine the way she was, helping the family around her, bringing brightness to every room, wearing her crazy-colored tights for all the world to see. She was always herself, already loving the life she was living; and sometimes such happiness can mean complacency... but sometimes it just means contentment, that you’ve found exactly where you need to be.

All that to say, I don’t think it’s wrong to expand your horizons—if that’s what living life to the fullest means for you. It’s just that... there are different kinds of lives for all the different kinds of people, and I think this quieter, small-town one has the right to be acknowledged. For Louisa Clark, I don’t think she needed a change because she was already living her life, and as Will himself asked her to, she was living it well.

So have you seen Me Before You? Do you think you could flourish in a small-town life or do you want to get out and do all the things (me, I’m kind of in between: I would love to see the world, but I can also write from the daybed by my window, so either way, ;) )? Can’t wait to hear from you, and I will see you in the comment section!

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  1. That's a first I've seen those pointed out... I have other issues with that movie, but I won't list them as most know what they are anyways ;) lol. Though besides that, it seemed like a cute movie :)

    1. Haha, yeah, I think I do. And I'd agree, besides the issues I had with it, it really was an amazing story. Like I said, it grabbed me 15 minutes in.

  2. I haven't seen the film, so I'll have to take your word for all of this until I do see it. Wonder how close to the book this one was?

    1. From what I've heard, it's pretty close excepting a few scenes. But like I said, I haven't read it, so I don't know for sure. :)

  3. I haven't seen this one yet, but I plan on it. I feel as if I will have similar thoughts. I think I could really relate to Lousia.

    1. It really was a beautiful movie, aside from the issues I did have. And let me know if you do see it and post about it! I'd love to hear if your opinions do end up agreeing with mine. :)


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