Reading teenage girls fiction is never top of the Editors reading list preferring instead something that he can colour in. Many of us are not teenage girls and therefore may not be familiar with the best- selling book where William Trayner (Sam Claflin), living the dream in that there London, until he is paralysed from the neck down in a road accident and returns to the care of his wealthy parents in their small hometown. Confined to a wheelchair and requiring full time care he is understandably embittered that at 31 years old he is never going to recover and takes his frustration out on each successive carer who ultimately resign. So when Louisa Clark (Emilia Clark) an ex-waitress, is employed by his wealthy parents, in what is a well paid job that will help her own family’s finances, it seems inevitable that with all the vitriol and disdain she too will go the way of all the previous carers as well as his now ex-girlfriend who exasperates him further by marrying his best friend giving him the old, ‘I never meant this to happen!’ line.
But this being a romantic drama means that they are duty bound to fall in love. What sets this on a tragic course is when Louisa overhears William’s parents discuss his intention to visit Dignitas, the assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland after 6 months as he cannot bear to live as a quadriplegic any longer. It’s from here that Louisa sets about trying to change his mind by compiling a bucket list to complete and in the process the two grow closer.
Both Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin acquit themselves well with Claflin initially wallowing in self pity and wholly unsympathetic though wholly understandable anger at what fate has dealt him in life. His gruff demeanour , scruffy beard and unkempt hair are the polar opposite to her upbeat charm being one of those characters who is always up when things are down and has a dress sense that looks like she’s dressed herself in the dark. Clarke looks very different from her blonde ‘Game of Thrones’ role but it’s here that her eyebrows elicit a strange fascination looking like 2 caterpillars battling it out in a Jack Nicholson lookee- likey competition. Claflin’s character arc means that he will inevitably succumb to her charms and is a counter point to her boyfriend , a self obsessed able bodied fitness trainer played by Mathew Lewis who’s idea of taking Louisa on holiday is an Iron Man contest in Norway. It’s enough to drive her into the, albeit paralysed, arms of her disabled charge.
Claflin, with his huge teenage following, is not going to be cruel and dishevelled for long and, with a haircut, shave and change in attitude, is a much more appealing character who draws far more sympathy when all the bucket list ticking ultimately doesn’t change his intention to end it all in the Swiss clinic where inevitably this is all going to come to a climax. It’s not entirely easy to understand as he lives in stunningly converted stables at his wealthy parents castle home overlooking beautiful scenery with full care and a new relationship with someone who clearly love him as deeply as he now loves her.
With a female audience eager to see the film of the book with an enviously handsome Claflin in this tear jerker it’ll be up to boyfriends dragged along to this to insist that they have something in their eye as the story reaches its natural conclusion.
Here’s the trailer……