This is a collection of the criticism by the disabled community and allies of the book and film Me Before You. I have also included some mainstream media coverage of the criticism and protests. If I missed anything let me know in the comments or on Twitter.
Disabled Community & Allies
“Ableist, Stereotypical, and Offensive” or: Why I Hate “Me Before You” by JustHappenToBe
Boycott – Me Before You – “disability death porn.” by Alex Schadenberg
And Now a Word From the FuckAbilityTM Research Council on the Film “Me Before You” by Ingrid Tischer
A Second Class Existence: Me Before You Gets It All Wrong by BadCripple
Me Before You; Why It’s Not Okay by Bloo ‘n’ Stuff
Hey “Special Needs Parents”! Where’s the Outrage over “Me Before You”? by Meriah Nichols
Hollywood Lies: I Prefer My Disabled Girlfriend Alive by Wilfredo Rodriguez-Lopez
Hollywood Promotes The Idea that it is Better to be Dead than Disabled by Dominick Evans
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes REVIEW + Ableism Discussion by Between Chapters
“Me Before You” Film Panned by Not Dead Yet UK by Not Dead Yet UK
Me Before You: My Thoughts by Around and Upside Down
‘Me Before You’: Not for Me Thanks by Mik Scarlet
“Me Before You”: The Fetishization of Disability by Pretentious Best Friend
Sam Claflin Ends Twitter Chat on #MeBeforeYou: After Disability Activists Fight Against the Film’s Ableist Message by Dominick Evan via Storify
Spare me, “Me Before You”: Hollywood’s new tearjerker is built on tired and damaging disability stereotypes by Emily Ladau
Stevie Wonder, Me Before You, and Feerless by Annie Elainey
The film ‘Me Before You’ is disability death porn. That’s why we’re boycotting. by Alex Schadenberg
Book Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes by Tonia Says
Trop Moche la Vie: Riches Mais Handicape(e) (in French) by auxmarchesdupalais
Truth Before Lies by Tourettes Hero
‘Why Are You Complaining? Some People Actually Feel That Way’: A Critique of ‘Me Before You’ by CrppledScholar (Me) originally published on this blog here
Why I Blocked All Advertisements for “Me Before You” by ClaimingCrip
#LiveBoldly…Unless You’re Disabled? by IsaJennie
Why I hate Jojo Moye’s Me Before You by Shane Clifton
Why New Film Me Before You Misrepresents the Lives of Disabled People by Lauren West
‘Me Before You’, right or wrong? by Poppy Hasted
Activists protest outside premiere of ‘disability snuff movie’ by Disability News Service
Me Before Ableist B.S. by Allegra Keys
People Who Use Wheelchairs Don’t Actually Want to Kill Themselves by David Bekhour
Me Before You: or If You Die, I Can Live by Ashtyn Law
The Reeve Foundation Rears its Ugly Head with Me Before You Press Release by BadCripple
Me Before Ableism #LiveBoldly by Annie Elainey
Before You Show This Film by Discrimination & Disadvantage
#LiveBoldly on 6/2! Join Growing Wave of Protest Against Euthanasia Rom-Com “Me Before You” in Berkeley, CA by Ingrid Tischer
Boo to “Me Before You” by Who Am I To Stop It
Weekly Reading List: “Me Before You” Edition by Andrew Pulrang
Me Before You makes having a disability seem worse than death by Michaela Hollywood
Me Before You: Your Disability Representation is Bad and You Should Feel Bad. by Hannah-Rebecca
Everyone Before Me; Or So It Seems by Mik Scarlet
We long to watch disabled characters like us. Instead we get Me Before You by Penny Pepper
‘Me Before You is dangerous; it suggests you’re better off dead than disabled – what an affront to me and people like me’ by Michaela Hollywood
The Five Stages of Grief (When Your Movie Is Criticized for Promoting Dangerous Ableist Crap) by David Perry
Relationship: My Problems with, Me Before You, as a Disabled Dad by Chris Wylie
Owl Debates Ep1: Me Before You (Pre-Watch) & Disability Representation
Me Before You; Popular Defence Arguments by Bloo ‘n’ Stuff
Me Before… Who? by Lynn Hsu
Dear Jojo by Tourettes Hero
How the Weepy Fantasy ‘Me Before You’ Infantilizes the Disabled by Kristen Lopez
Me Before You (2016) Trailer Commentary by Gold Pictures
Oh, And The Guy In The Wheelchair Commits Suicide by Howard Sherman
I am Not Your Plot Device by Stephen Spohn
“Me Before You” Celebrates the Romance of Exploitation by The Independent Critic
Ruderman Family Foundation Outraged Over ‘Me Before You’ Portrayal of People with Disabilities by the Ruderman Family Foundation
Life Worth Living: The Insidious Harm of “Me Before You” by Matan Koch
An Open Letter To The Actors & Director of “Me Before You” by Michele Kaplan
What Hollywood gets Wrong by Mike Mort
Mainstream Media Coverage [editors notes: a technical glitch resulted in the loss almost all of this section. Please send me links via the comment section or Twitter]
‘I’m not a thing to be pitied’: the disability backlash against Me Before You by Ryan Gilbey via The Guardian
16 thoughts on “Media Roundup of Me Before You Criticism”
You missed my blog on the subject: https://poppyhasted.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/me-before-you-right-or-wrong/
Added, thanks for sharing
Reblogged this on Same Difference and commented:
I’m grateful for this roundup as I’ve been unable to follow this as closely as I would have liked while on holiday.
This is a very poor piece of work as well as being poorly researched and offensive.
I’ve written to the publisher suggesting their editors need to look again at JoJo Moyes ‘Me before you.’ It’s jam-packed full of errors. Just check below for the ones I discovered.
Early on (page 2), in a bedroom scene with Lissa, Will kisses her goodbye. She’s propped up in bed leafing through travel brochures. “He leans over the bed to kiss her. She smells warm and perfumed and sexy. He inhales the scent from the back of her hair …” Where’s that? Is there a front and back of hair? Does the author mean the back of her head? The nape of her neck? Who knows?
Why does Will ask Mick the security guard about the weather? Does Wills London flat not have windows he can look out of and see that it’s “raining cats and dogs”?
London pavements aren’t “mirrored” (page 4). That would be indecent.
The accident scene is in the Prologue which is dated 2007. Lou enters the scene in 2009. Yet people who’ve read the book think it’s set 30 or 50 years ago. Why is that?
Her family struggle financially yet the mother “keeps the heating on all year round” whilst “Dad is always opening windows”. Come on! That’s just stupid and unrealistic. “Apple juice … was too expensive”. Turn the heating off then! The Mother, who apparently never sits down and is in constant motion, would generate her own heat and wouldn’t be a “martyr to the cold”.
I’m not sure that the “Job Centre” (as it was then) is allowed to offer pole dancing and adult chat-line supervisor jobs. Perhaps someone can confirm this?
The woman leaving the house before Lou’s interview was wearing “white slacks”. Slacks were a 1960’s clothes item. Made of Crimplene with elastic from the trouser hems to under the arch of the foot. They went out in the 1960’s. And Crimplene was a sweaty non-breathable material which only lasted into the early 70’s.
She wouldn’t have called her dad “Bernard” (page 32). The author might but this section is written in the first person from Lou’s perspective.
Mrs Traynors “cross on a chain around her neck” is actually called a crucifix necklace. Why doesn’t the author call it by it’s rightful name?
Why is Lissa described as having caramel coloured skin. This term usually describes mixed-race/bi-racial people. Is that what Lissa is? Perhaps her skin was tanned and golden?
If Will so enjoyed the cut and thrust of his job why didn’t he continue with it? As he says himself his “brain wasn’t paralysed”. He had the financial means to work from home and get equipment to help him to do so. It’s unrealistic to think that a determined, intelligent, ambitious person wouldn’t have done that. But that wouldn’t have worked with the authors plot device of needing to have him wanting to end his life would it? Did he get counselling after the accident? That would have helped too. What happened to the motorcyclist who ran him down? Was there a court case? We don’t know. All unrealistic.
Lou picks up one of the “labels of medication” (page 42). Maybe she picked up one of the bottles, or vials, of medication?
Why is Will long-haired and unshaven? He has Nathan to attend to his personal needs. What subject is Nathan studying when he’s not on duty? To what level? It’s never mentioned. And yet he has spare time to go on trips out and holidays? Completely unrealistic!
Why would you stick your handbag on your shoulder? (page 48). That’s not what you do with your handbag. That would be uncomfortable and risky. You might put the strap of your shoulder bag over your shoulder though! Your handbag is just that; a bag you carry in your hand.
The glass shards from the broken photo frames would have been a better way to commit suicide. A rusty nail left exposed? Unrealistic that such a thing would have existed in such a carefully designed and moneyed household.
Where was Mrs Traynor when the photos were smashed? Lou had just made the guests Lissa and Rupert coffee as well as making Mrs Traynor some tea. So she was still in the house somewhere and must have heard the noise of breaking glass. Why wasn’t she on the scene quickly afterwards?
The author is obsessed with blinking. It’s usually an involuntary reflex action that we perform millions of times a day. Does she mean someone closing their eyes slowly, deliberately? That’s not the same as blinking. Or winking for that matter!
Will goes for his 6 month check-up and the Consultant says at the end “So we’ll see you in 3 months time Mr Traynor”.
Why is Lou wearing ballet pumps in snowy weather? Ridiculous! And socks with them? Even more ridiculous!
Nathan tells Lou (on page 131) that the sister Georgina had gone, skidding off in her car just as he arrived yet there she is again in the house on the next page (page 132) sobbing down the annexe corridor. No mention of her returning to the house. Plot error?
What is that position Lou gets into lying sideways on her bed with her legs against the wall. Is that even possible? And why?
Page 175 when the two sisters are arguing “If you think I’m helping you now … you’ve got another thing coming”. Think?
The calendar is laminated? I’ve not seen a laminated calendar ever I don’t think. That must be difficult to write on.
Which day is Lou talking about when they’re at the concert and she says “I remembered how his former workmates had looked at him that day”? There’d been no meeting of his workmates together with Lou and Will mentioned previously.
Lou seems to rub her nose a lot. Then later says she rubs it when she lies. Was she lying when she said she enjoyed the classical music concert then? That doesn’t make sense and is an irrelevant detail unless it is bring used as a plot device to show she’s lying. And she doesn’t seem to be lying about enjoying the concert. So why bother to put that detail in?
At her birthday meal why is Lou folding smoked salmon in her fingers and feeding Will like that. No fork? It comes up again and again the finger food feeding. Breaking off pieces of sandwich etc. Like feeding a child or a dog its treats. It’s unhygienic and undermines Will as a human being. He’s not a child or a dog.
On page 266 Lou has peeled potatoes and is then “rinsing the chopping board under the sink”. Really? Where the bins and cleaning products are kept? Perhaps the author meant under the tap at the sink? Or in the sink perhaps?
Will should have had 24 hour live-in care. His parents, Nathan and Louise are not there all the time. Is that legal to leave a disabled person un-attended? What if a fire broke out? Shouldn’t his parents, as prime carers, be sued for negligence for not providing their disabled son with the 24 hour care he needs?
Mr Traynor’s situation is unrealistic. He leaves his son unattended when he goes out to see his mistress. He goes to see his mistress when Mrs Traynor goes away for the night to see her sister, or stays in London due to weather, or work, situations.
Will may have been in the house/annexe alone a lot of the time as neither both parents nor carers stayed in the house overnight consistently. Will would have been alone and unattended the night it snowed but luckily Lou stayed overnight. What about all the other times when both parents (maybe unknowingly) left him alone at night?
So Mr Traynor could have left his wife at any time. He was never consistently there.There was no need for him to wait for Will to die in order for him to be free of his marriage. He was never really around or much use looking after Will anyway so his excuse that he was needed whilst Will was still alive is nonsense.
Finally the scene at Dignitas. “… Mr Traynor sat on one side if it, (the bed) Mrs Traynor on the other … Georgina was seated on a wooden chair in the corner….” Will says ‘I want to talk to Lou. Is that ok?” Mrs Traynor and Georgina leave the room. THAT LEAVES MR TRAYNOR STILL IN THE ROOM WITH WILL AND LOU!! Didn’t any of them notice he was still there? Will he be there with them in the film? Utter rubbish. Unbelievable that this wasn’t picked up in the editing.
And SO many more. Why mention the tourist train in an early chapter then never refer to it again, when describing castle and town scenes as the seasons pass. There’s no need to mention it at all then if it’s irrelevant. I could go on …
Why has no one commented on how badly written and researched this book is? I work in a library and it is constantly requested so I thought I would try to read the paperback version, although it’s not my chosen type of reading matter. I won’t go to see the film.
This book is even worse than the E L James “Fifty shades’ series because of the serious content and the way quadriplegia is portrayed. It’s just not credible. And the author has made SO many mistakes in the text and plotline. I think it’s also a very irresponsible book as it is so poorly researched.
Will you mention all these errors to the author please? I could do so but I wouldn’t want her to feel ‘trolled’. I just want somebody responsible to admit that it’s a poorly written piece of work. I’m really surprised you published it as you have a good reputation in the literary world.
So how has this book managed to get published with all these mistakes? And turned into a film as well? It is an insult to the readers’ intelligence. But if people want sentimental, claptrap, Chick-lit then here it is. With sequels too! I must get writing. Perhaps I can churn out a sentimental pot-boiler or two? Watch this space!
Un-sentimental Realist Pedant.
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