What would you do if you have only three months left to live because of a disease or disability? While it is scary to consider, it is natural for us all to die since human life is finite. However, the characters in the book and the movie that SMT will introduce here ponder the meaning of life through their upcoming deaths and prepare themselves for the end of their lives.
Me before You (2013)
“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”
– Will Traynor
Me before You
Lou Clark, a lady living in a small rural town in England, has been working as a waitress for six years in the town's only café. One day she suddenly loses her job after receiving a unilateral notice that the owner was closing the café. She got another job as a six-month temporary caregiver for a quadriplegic. On her first day at the new job, she meets a bad-tempered character in a black wheelchair. His name is Will Traynor, and Clark soon realizes why the job’s salary is so high. Will Traynor, was a young businessperson who enjoyed extreme sports, but he had a car accident and was confined to a wheelchair without going outsides or finding other things to replace. Having lost his life, he felt the only way to end his misery was to end his life. Lou Clark received a mission from his parents to change his mind in just six months, just before he is scheduled for euthanasia. How will they live after six months?
“I can’t judge him for what he wants to do. It’s his choice. It should be his choice.” Just as Will Traynor's trainer, Nathan, points out, no one has the right to say whether Will’s decision to end his life is right or wrong since we cannot fully understand the pain he must suffer each day of his life. He is surely suffering from physical and mental pain even he falls in love with Lou Clark. He makes her realize her good characteristics, even she doesn't know, and she becomes determined to live well after Will’s departure from the world. Will encourages her to leave the comfort of her small world rather than remain with him as his caregiver. The novel, however, is not a cliché that shows a happy ending after overcoming obstacles in the path of love. The story makes us think about our end. If you were Will Traynor, what would you choose? Will's decision also allows the readers to think about the dignity of life and euthanasia. Death is frightening, but it's something no one can escape. Life is finite. Will's last letter brought tears to this SMT reporter’s eyes, while at the same time filled her heart with warmth. If the first book caught your interest, you will be happy to learn that the series continues in <After You (2016)>.
Now Is Good (2012)
“Our life is a series of moments. Let them all go. Moments. All gathering towards this one.” - Tessa Scott
Now Is Good
17-year-old Tessa Scott has been fighting leukemia for the past 4 years. She knows she doesn’t have much time left, so she makes a list of all the things she wants to do before dying and plans to do them with her best friend, Zoey. The list includes having sex for the first time, breaking the law, becoming famous, and more. Her father is constantly preoccupied with his search for a cure for his daughter’s cancer, her mother is always late for her daughter’s medical treatments, her little brother is too young to understand that her death is eminent, and the world wishes to show her as a courageous ‘dying girl’. Tessa is sick of all these things. One day, Tessa meets Adam her new neighbor. Adam is still not fully over death of his own father. They do things together, things she never expected such as riding a motorcycle and sea diving at night. Moreover, falling in love with Adam was not on her list of things to do. When she is with him, she forgets about her pain, and she feels alive. They grow close. However, before her first date with Adam, Tessa’s health degenerates. Interested in finding out what will happen Tessa and Adam?
For some time, books and movies have described females being delicate creatures. They are usually beautiful and pale, cough painfully, and grab their heart in anguish sporting white lacy nightdresses. They appear frail and give up living as fate. However, the main character in this film, Tessa Scott is not that kind of person. Sometimes, she is cynical and accepts her fate, but she is also angry at the world and vows never to surrender herself to her disease. At the same time, she also laughs like a normal teenage girl. Dakota Fanning does a wonderful job of portraying this multilayered character. The chemistry between her and Jeremy Irvine, who plays Adam, is adorable. The visual aspect of the movie is also amazing. Especially, the colorful opening sequence with Lana Del Rey’s song ‘Blue Jeans’ is really unique. Landscape scenes show audiences a calm ocean and peaceful woods, which are artistic. Each scene is full of beautiful light and colors. The most impressive aspect of the movie is that it highlights not only Tessa’s change after meeting Adam but also the change in people who surround her. The relationships Tessa has with others in the latter part of the movie are really touching. The movie is based on the novel <Before I Die (2007)> by Jenny Downham, so this reporter recommends reading the book if you like the movie.
Kim Lee Jihyun / Editor-in-Chief
Song Yoon Heejeong / Culture Section Editor