'Me Before You' distorts what love is
Shortly after the passing of Bill C-14 and assisted suicide becoming not only legal, but a hot topic in Canada, the controversial film “Me Before You” premiered in theatres. If you’re reading this, I assume you’re pro-life and will be boycotting this film. In that case, I’ll give you a summary.
A man named Will used to live a happy, exciting life with his girlfriend, until one day he is hit by a motorcycle while crossing the street. His life changes as he sustains a spinal cord injury and becomes a quadriplegic. Two years later, his wealthy family hires Lou, a beautiful, vibrant young woman, after several attempts to find a caretaker for Will.
When Lou begins her job, she sees that Will’s everyday attitude is one of coldness and boredom, in contrast to her enthusiasm. He would regularly reminisce about the life he once had. They soon form a great friendship, and start to have feelings for one another, changing him to a happier person. Lou soon discovers that Will plans to have himself euthanized in six months. She is then determined to do whatever it takes to make him realize life is worth living.
After taking him on several vacations and adventures, Will reveals to Lou that he will still be ending his life, since he doesn’t want her to have the burden of living with a quadriplegic, and to go and earn an education instead. The film ends with his family and Lou being present at his death.
The way that the characters approached the topic of suicide, I noticed the same attitude towards abortion being used for euthanasia. Will’s family respects his choice and in the end are actually contributing to his homicide, as they enabled his suicide. You would hope any parent would defend their child’s life to the fullest, rather than go along with his lethal life choices. Since his parents have such a relativistic mindset, they go along with it. What should be questioned is, aren’t some choices wrong? And in this case, if your son chooses to die, aren’t you violating your role as a parent by being complicit in his death?
If the film was life affirming, this is how it would have ended. Will realizes through all his amazing experiences of love, and the beauty that life holds, he realizes that life is worth living. He then marries Lou, and they live happily ever after.
However, instead this film promotes a distorted form of love. A form of love that says “I don’t want you to be married to a paraplegic, I am a burden to you.” This is exactly why this film has caused an international uproar from the disability community, since it promotes the dangerous idea of utilitarianism – which teaches that if you are not as able-bodied as others, you are useless and better off dead.
The slogan of the film is “live boldly”, and the example the film sets for such a statement is twisted. The film romanticizes Will’s suicide as a form of sacrifice so others could live their lives well. If there was representation in the film of how a disabled person can live boldly, it wouldn’t involve suicide – it would involve living life to the fullest. There is nothing bold about believing you are useless and ending your life, but it would be if you looked past your challenges and saw life in a brighter way.
There’s a reason most people with disabilities lead fulfilling lives, having jobs, and starting families. This is because Western society doesn’t view the disabled as inferior, as the film does. If a person truly believes their life has no purpose and should end their life, this is a sign that society’s push for euthanasia and assisted suicide is failing them.
One can only look at the disaster which euthanasia has caused in this world. People in countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands are willingly requesting death due to various challenges they may face in life, and these people even include children.
At the moment, Canada’s assisted suicide law is only for those with deaths that are reasonably foreseeable. Some individuals are challenging the law to make it available to anyone, for any reason. If such amendments do occur, we will see situations like 'Me Before You', where people end their lives simply because they lost the will to live.
As St. John Paul II once said, “Euthanasia and assisted suicide are never acceptable acts of mercy. They always gravely exploit the suffering and desperate, extinguishing life in the name of the 'quality of life' itself.”