This post contains spoilers for the film Me Before You.
A man with quadriplegia wants to end his life because he decides his life is not worth living despite being young and healthy (and with a lovely woman in love with him and being rich and handsome). On film, this is considered romantic?
Spoiler alert: It is in Me Before You.
Me Before You, the new romantic film that brought in nearly $20 million in the domestic box office this weekend, has been slammed for being ableist given its controversial ending when the man with quadriplegia dies via assisted suicide.
“The disability is really viewed as a problem without a cure, and it’s really just there to move the plot,” said a man named Dan, a person with quadriplegia, in a YouTube video about the film. Dan describes the book as “ableist, stereotypical and offensive.”
He is not the only one to criticize the film. The hashtag #mebeforeableism spread over the weekend.
In a blog post called "Dear Hollywood, why do you want me dead" on Aleteia.org, 11-year-old writes "Did you even do any research on this?"
"You sit there with your able bodies, and look at people in chairs and think you feel pity for our sad little lives, but the truth is you’re afraid," French writes.
Jay Ruderman, the president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, a group that works toward inclusion for people living with disabilities, said the film has a “troubling message.” “To the millions of people with significant disabilities currently leading fulfilling, rich lives, it posits that they are better off committing suicide,” Ruderman told Entertainment Weekly.
Director Thea Sharrock said on Sunday defended the film’s ending in an interview with EW Radio. “This is a brave ending. It’s too easy to do it the other way. We could all tell that story tomorrow. But this way… this is the more interesting way.”