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‘Me Before You’ takes the same old view of characters with illnesses or disabilities

🕐 1 min read

In “Me Before You,” opening Friday, Lou (Emilia Clarke) becomes the caregiver to Will (Sam Claflin) after he is paralyzed in an accident. She then discovers that often when someone has an illness or a disability in the movies, he or she exists primarily to teach someone else a valuable lesson about life and love.

– “Dying Young”

Julia Roberts and Campbell Scott starred in this 1991 tearjerker about a nurse who falls in love with her patient, in violation of HIPAA laws. He has terminal cancer, but it’s OK because he teaches her a valuable lesson about life and love.

– Pretty much all Nicholas Sparks movies

(Attractive white person) has (problem, probably cancer); in spite of that, he/she falls in love with (another attractive white person), but then (something bad, probably death) happens, teaching (surviving attractive white person) a valuable lesson about life and love.

– “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”

Disney unsurprisingly Disneyed up the ending when it brought Hugo’s novel to the big screen – the 1939 film was much darker (though it, too, changed the ending of the book). Still, in all the iterations, Quasimodo teaches everyone a valuable lesson about life and love.

– “Silver Linings Playbook”

This film teaches us two things about mental illness: One, it can be cured by ballroom dancing and romance. Two, out of mental illness comes a valuable lesson about life and love.

– “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”

Rachel (Olivia Cooke) gets third billing and not even a name in the title, which seems to be an acknowledgement of her role in the film: teaching others a valuable lesson about life and love.

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