After twelves years of regular “Canada AM” movie reviews, Richard and host Beverly Thomson get together one last time to talk about the weekend’s four big releases, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” “Me Before You,” and “Into the Forest.”
Richard andCP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s four big releases, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” “Me Before You,” and “Into the Forest.”
These days Jojo Moyes is a bestselling author with a movie adaptation about to hit screens.
But before she wrote her best-known book she says, “I had not troubled the bestseller charts.”
The former journalist, who has written 13 novels, hit publishing pay dirt with Me Before You, a romance about a young woman who has a life-changing relationship with a paralyzed man.
“I was driving my kids home from school,” says Moyes, “and I heard this story on the news about a young athlete who had been left quadriplegic after an accident.
“Several years into life as a quadriplegic he had persuaded his parents to take him to Dignitas, which is a centre for assisted suicide in England to end his life.
“I was just really shocked by this story because as a human and a parent I could not envisage how a parent would agree to do that.
“I kept thinking I would fight to the death to keep my kids alive. Because I am an ex journalist, I started to read around it and read more about this young man and read more about the issue and I discovered it wasn’t as black and white as I wanted to believe. Then it got me thinking, what would I be like if I were him? What would it be like to be his mother? What would it be like to be his girlfriend?”
The book sold north of 5 million copies and is now a movie starring Games of Thrones dragon lady Emilia Clarke. The 29-year-old actress plays the relentlessly cheerful Louisa, caregiver to quadriplegic Will, played by The Hunger Games star Sam Claflin.
“I read the amazing book first,” the effervescent Clarke says. “I was reading it to see if I wanted to be in it. In the first couple of pages of Lou (I thought) this is who I am. This is so much me in every way. Then there was the story itself and the beauty within it; the heartbreak, the joy and the laughter fell on top of one another and I just said yes.
“I understand (Louisa) innately because if things ever get too dire I’m going to crack a joke. We’re going to laugh through this. In those moments, at that peak when something bad has happened, and you’re like, ‘Let’s laugh about it,’ as you’re laughing you start crying.
She also says she had a rigorous rehearsal process with co-star Claflin, so she got to know her character and their story really well.
“When you’ve got all that knowledge someone only has to say one thing and you are there because you have built her within you. You’ve built the story around you.”
Moyes says finding the right person to play Louisa was important to not only the success of the film, but also to keep the fans of the book happy.
“I felt a huge responsibility to those people because it’s not like this has only been read by 20,000 people,” says Moyes.
“This is a much bigger thing. I will defy anybody to see Emilia as Lou and not feel this is a true representation of the character.
“When I picture Lou, I can’t help but picture Emilia. That is how fully she has taken root in my imagination.”
In “Me Before You,” a new three-hankie weepie based on the bestselling novel by Jo Jo Moyes, Emilia Clarke leaves behind her “Game of Thrones” persona as Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen—a.k.a. First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons and The Unburnt—to play Louisa Clark, an unambitious former Buttered Bun waitress who takes a job that changes her life forever.
Louisa is a wide-eyed 26-year-old with no great plan for her life. After six years of serving tea and scones to the elderly clients of The Buttered Bun Café she loses her job when the place shuts down. Jobs are scarce in the village—“There are no jobs. I should know,” says her under employed father (Brendan Coyle).—and her family desperately needs the money she brings in.
Prepared to take any job she visits the local employment center where they have just the thing for her. “There’s nothing about having skills so it’s perfect for you,” says the staffer as he tells her about the position of care assistant and companion to Will Traynor (“The Hunger Games’s” Sam Claflin), a recently paralyzed man so wealthy he lives in the local castle.
For most of his life Will was Louisa’s opposite, a robust go-getter who lived life to the fullest. Now, confined to a wheelchair with a spinal chord injury, he feels so lost he strikes a deadly deal with his parents. He will give them six months to help him find happiness, and if that doesn’t happen he’s off to Dignitas in Switzerland to die with dignity and put an end to his pain and constant exhaustion. That’s where Louisa comes in. “It would be nice if he thought of you as a friend,” explains his mother (Janet McTeer), “and not a paid professional.” Her primary purpose is to convince him that life can be just as rewarding as it was before the accident. Of course, before you can say Nicholas Sparks three times really fast, they fall for one another, but is love be enough to keep Will alive?
“Me Before You” is a fairly standard tearjerker with a lineage that can be traced back to ”Love Story” and beyond. The thing that elevates it above the usual sob story is the effervescent Clarke in the lead role. Her relentlessly upbeat charm—she has a smile so broad director Thea Sharrock almost needs a wide-angle lens to capture it—coupled with the character’s complete comfort in her quirky skin shows a much lighter side of Clarke than is ever evident on “Game of Thrones.” She proves she doesn’t need to command dragons to hand in a commanding performance.
Clarke has good chemistry with Claflin. He’s solemn enough to pull off a line like, “I sit and just about exist,” and gushy enough to breathe life into stilted dialogue like, “I just…want to be a man who has been to a concert with a girl in a red dress. Just for a few minutes more.”
Good casting makes “Me Before You” an engaging enough romance that subtly deals with larger issues like class and assisted suicide. Unfortunately by the time Ed Sheeran warbles, “Loving can hurt… It is the only thing that makes us feel alive,” in the long, drawn out final section, the movie gets a little too on the money. The “you only get one life and it is your duty to live it as fully as possible” message isn’t quite as original as the movie thinks it is, but certainly, writer Moyes and Company have their hearts in the right place.
The title character of “Albert Nobbs” is described as “the strangest an I ever met,” which makes sense because he’s actually a woman. Glenn Close, in an Academy Award nominated role, plays a woman who escaped a life of poverty by dressing as a man and taking a job at Morrison’s Hotel in 19th century Dublin.
When Albert meets the house painter Hubert Page (Janet McTeer), another woman living in drag and married to a woman, he is encouraged to escape the shackles of conservative Ireland and live a happy life. Her fatal attraction is Helen () a young maid who has eyes for the handsome new handy-man Joe Macken (Aaron Johnson).
Close played the part of the fastidious butler Nobbs on stage thirty years ago and one can only imagine that the intervening years have deepened the performance. She embodies not only the physicality of the man, but the spirit as well. It’s a stunner of a performance, equally ingrained with repression, gentleness and secrecy.
Unfortunately the towering performances from Close and McTeer are blunted somewhat by a script that isn’t as interesting as the character study that is at the center of it.
It stumbles when it tries to address the larger issue of female poverty in a male dominated society and simply takes too long to make any point at all.
“Albert Nobbs” is a noble failure, a movie with great performances that wants to be important, but is done in by a shallow script.