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‘Me Before You’ draws both flak and praise from disability activists

26 May 2016 Entertainment News

Fourth Estate Staff

Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E) – The movie adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ “Me Before You” has gotten some backlash as well as praises from disability activists but the flak is stronger as some criticized how the movie portrayed disabled people.

The movie stars Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin . In the movie, Clarke plays Louisa Clark, a 26-year-old woman who loses her job at a local café . Claflin plays the role of Will Traynor , a wealthy and a well-educated man, who is 35 years old. He became a quadriplegic due to an accident. Louisa then gets employed as the caregiver of Will. Will has lost his determination to live and Louisa wants to change his outlook in life.

In the movie, Will tries to take his life for the first time but fails. However, he promises is parents that after six months, he will end his life at Dignitas , a clinic in Switzerland offering assisted suicide. Due to this, it has offended some disability activists.

One of the activists, identified as Emily Ladau , is a self-described physically disabled woman who uses a wheelchair. She talked about “Me Before You” via an article for Salon. She wrote that she felt the book and the movie overflows with “dehumanizing stereotypes about disability, from implications that disabled people are things no more active than houseplants , to assumptions that disability is a fate worse than death.”

Another activist from the group Not Dead Yet, Ellen Clifford, said that the story is guilty of grossly misrepresenting the lives of the disabled people. She added that the message of the film is that “disability is a tragedy and disabled people are better off dead.”

As for the praises, the Christopher Reeve Foundation reportedly supported “Me Before You” and have listed the book on its Pinterest board for “Books We Love.”

During a 2013 interview, Moyes explained that her book was to highlight the way people treat disabled people differently. She added during that time, “They’re just the same as us, but with different physical limitations.”

“Me Before You” will be out in theaters this June 3.