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Me Before You and the Slow Suicide of the West


Sometimes movie spoilers are a welcome thing.

Several months ago I saw a trailer for the movie Me Before You and got a little excited. A modern romance featuring a disabled main character. It looked so positive and promising.

I should have known better.

Apparently Me Before You, which hits theaters this weekend, was a novel first, so the plot is already well known to many. And many disability rights activists are speaking out about its less-than-romantic message. Some even protested at the movie’s UK premier. And the disability rights group Not Dead Yet has organized a boycott of the film.

“I had heard this was a good book and read it. I was horrified,” a friend of mine told me.

So, consider this your warning.

It turns out Me Before You is yet another bad chapter in Hollywood’s treatment of disability, assisted suicide. Once again we have a story involving disability told through an entirely able-bodied lens. The message: It’s better to be dead than disabled. And, as in Million Dollar Baby before it, instead of learning to live with his disability, the main character gets help ending his life.

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