Vodcast: A Discussion of Me Before You

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If you’ve seen the trailer for the new film Me Before You, you’re probably thinking to yourself that this looks like a wonderful, sweet love story. And if you’re the type of person who likes to guess what numeric rating Plugged In is likely to give it, based on the trailer, you’re probably thinking somewhere in the 3.5 range.

Well, the film garnered a mere 1.5 out of 5. Why so low? What’s going on here with the trailer’s bait and switch? (Spoiler Alert: Rajeev and I unpack what you need to know before you head off to your local Cineplex this weekend.)

Who wrote this?

Bob Waliszewski is the director of the Plugged In department. His syndicated "Plugged In Movie Review" feature is heard by approximately 9 million people each week on more than 1,500 radio stations and other outlets and has been nominated for a National Religious Broadcaster's award. Waliszewski is the author of the book Plugged-In Parenting: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids With Love, Not War. You can follow him on Twitter @PluggedInBob.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

JeffD503 More than 1 year ago

I am not defending nor am I condemning this movie, but I would like to point something that people seem to forget. I have to laugh at the idea that people 'die before their time' because God ordains not only the length of our lives, but I believe He decrees the exact manner of our demises. Some, He decrees to die naturally. Others, He decrees die in some sort of accident. Why then do we say that people who die by their hand die before their time or that it somehow usurps God's power? If He wished them to live, then He would ensure it. Similarly, if He wished them to die, then die then will. Our lives are determined for us, down to the very last detail.


Now, does that mean I approve of suicide? By all means, no. I believe that it is wrong to take your own life. Yet, in that, I believe that if God determines that a person should fall into such despair, then that is what shall be. We cannot possible 'die before our time' because the exact time and manner of our death is already fixed. Is it sad when people do this? Yes. But how can we deny that God, for whatever reason He has, willed this to be? Of course, He is not responsible for our acts of wrongdoing - His decree does not mitigate our responsibility. But when the choice comes, we can only choose to do what He has determined that we should do.   

B Evans More than 1 year ago
I take it you're a radical Calvinist, then?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by Smith.

So we are held accountable for sins, but we only through commit through God's influence? Where is our moral culpability, when we have no choice in the matter?

Did God will for Adam and Eve to commit original sin, thereby dooming, by His own decree, unborn millions to suffer in hell?

Frankly, that is nonsense.
JeffD503 More than 1 year ago

I'm going to address both of the replies. First off, let me state that I don't intend to start a theological debate on Calvinism or the existence or non-existence of free will. I merely wanted to point out how ridiculous the idea of someone actually 'usurping' God is to me because God cannot possible be thwarted in any way.


To address B Evans, I don't believe God takes a passive approach to His reign. I believe that God is active and meticulous in His workings to ensure that all things happen according to His design. I also believe that, because we are compared to the clay and He the potter, we are fully under God's control. I believe God alone determines the course of our lives and how our lives will end. If that makes me radical, then so be it.


To address Smith, to have a choice, we must merely be presented with one. From our perspective, we have many options, but in the greater scheme of things, why is it so hard to accept the idea that God controls our lives for His own purposes? For another thing, do we still do the things God commands not be done? Is that alone not enough for our moral culpability to remain?


And to answer your second question, I believe that, yes, Adam and Eve were meant to fall because the fall was part of God's overall plan for the world. I believe God created mankind only so He could display His own glory and demonstrate His attributes, from love and mercy to hate, wrath, and judgment. He needed to have an entire race to do this, and for that, something had to happen.


Getting back to the point at hand, how can we say that God is usurped by the act of someone taking their own life? Again, I don't support suicide or euthanasia or what have you. I believe such things are wrong. But at the same time, how can anyone die before their appointed time given the truth of God's absolute sovereignty?

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by Smith.

No. Our moral culpability cannot exist if we have no choice in a matter. If a man commits a crime in his sleep, cut off from concious thought and intent, he is not culpable.

In the case of, say, a deliberate vehicular homicide, the car would not be morally culpable for the deaths, because it had no choice in matter; the fault would rest, as it should, rest in the driver.

How can we condemn evil when the perpetrators are not, in the end, responsible for their own actions?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by Smith.

Slight edit: how can we condemn so-called evildoers, when they are not actually responsible for their actions?
JeffD503 More than 1 year ago

I never said we weren't responsible for our actions. We still "willingly" do things, but our actions were determined long before we even existed. Even though God determined our actions, He is not responsible for evil. We are.


Now, how this can be, I don't know, and I don't know anyone that does, this side of Heaven. I don't know exactly how God can decree evil and not be responsible, and I don't know fully how we can be responsible when our actions are determined, except for the fact that we still do them. If I did know how all of this worked out, well I would be God himself because He's the only one who knows how this works.

seraph_unsung More than 1 year ago
| "I have to laugh at the idea that people 'die before their time'"

Is it fair to reference the New Living Translation's use of that phrase?

"Therefore, the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I promised that your branch of the tribe of Levi would always be my priests. But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me.  The time is coming when I will put an end to your family, so it will no longer serve as my priests. All the members of your family will die before their time. None will reach old age.   You will watch with envy as I pour out prosperity on the people of Israel. But no members of your family will ever live out their days." ~ 1 Samuel 2:30-32, NLT

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel+2:30-32&version=NLT

"On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time?" ~ Ecclesiastes 7:17, NLT (this case is also used in the New International Version - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+7:16-18&version=NIV )

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+7:16-18&version=NIV

"Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come.  For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die." ~ Isaiah 57:1-3, NLT

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+57:1-3&version=NIV
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

When I saw the trailer for this film, I did think this would be a sweet, if predictable, film that I would watch via Red Box. Having read your review though, I have chosen not to watch Me Before You with all of its problematic elements.

Thank you Plugged In for reviewing movies. Thank you for taking the garbage of the world so that I don't have to.
MichaelHovey More than 1 year ago
For me this film feels like that supposedly Christian movie The Song that came out a few years ago. I know that movie was supposed to glorify God, but for me all the constant talk of things being meaningless made me think that maybe life itself is meaningless and we should just end it all because after all nothing matters. According to the review on here that definitely is not the message of the movie, but after watching it for myself late last year all I felt was hopelessness, loneliness, and despair. Basically everyone sees movies in their own way, and for some that could mean a supposedly positive movie like The Song could be viewed as downbeat and even suicidal, and a supposedly negative movie like Me Before You could be viewed as wonderfully life-affirming. I guess if I decide to see it I'll have to make up my own mind about it.
Marissa More than 1 year ago
I haven't listened to the vodcast, but I read PluggedIn's review of this film and was disappointed, if unsurprised, to see them label the paralyzed character's wish for death as "selfish" and "cowardly." I always find it disheartening when people are so quick to judge and insult the suicidal. Not that I support suicide or euthanasia, but unless you yourself have been in the position of being so depressed that you literally want to die (I have), you have no business dictating to someone else how they should feel, or judging them for those feelings. Depression is a disease that needs treatment, not something worthy of shame or scorn. Better to be compassionate and prayerful toward individuals who wish they were dead, not to look down your noses at them and label them selfish cowards. 

Moreover, many people who are suicidal feel that way in part because they have no outside support, and because they feel they have nothing to offer the world. In those cases, the old "selfish" label doesn't really fit, because those people have no one who would miss them. Not everyone is blessed with loving families and oodles of friends. 
Dan Haynes More than 1 year ago
During my senior year of high school ('87-'88...what happened!?) I was in a Social Issues-type civics class. I spent the first week of school in the hospital, so when I returned I was stuck with the partner no one wanted and "suicide" as our topic for the semester-long project. One part of the project was to interview a clergyperson about the topic, so I chose my C&MA pastor at the time, who will remain nameless. His pat answer included gems like "Suicide is an affront to God, usurping His power over life and death". He repeated those phrases and others like them (including selfish and cowardly) several times during the course of the interview.  No "We need to reach out to those who are suffering". No "The Church® needs to open its arms to the survivors left behind by a loved one's suicide". Nope. Not much compassion, but plenty of judgement and disdain. The secular world does a lot better than The Church® does in this area. 
bobed More than 1 year ago
I don't support movies like this. I advise my family and friends against them. They are meant to indoctrinate us into thinking that we  have the ability to end our lives without God's input. Lies and filth and indoctrination from Big Hollywood, nothing less. I hope the cast and crew involved with this film come to their senses and to know Christ.