‘Me Before You’ faces outcry over assisted suicide plotline

A new Hollywood film is facing a backlash over its assisted suicide plotline, with one actress saying the vast majority of disabled people “want to live – not die”.

‘Me Before You’ is set in England where a woman begins to care for a wealthy young banker described as a “handsome, wheelchair-using hero”.

They fall in love, but he is set on ending his life and pledges to leave all his money to her, so she can be free of financial uncertainty. At the end of the film, he goes to Dignitas for an assisted suicide.

No tragedy

Liz Carr, an actress and campaigner who is disabled, said: “Our lives and those of our loved ones are not mired in tragedy as depicted in this film.”

Not Dead Yet, a group which campaigns against assisted suicide, said it was deeply concerned at a film which shows “the lives of disabled people as not worth living”.

At a red-carpet London screening of the film, Not Dead Yet held a protest, saying it was demeaning.


Coronation Street actress Cherylee Houston, who has a rare tissue disorder, asked on Twitter: “Dear Mr & Mrs Hollywood, why can’t disabled people just be characters not this skewed view of our lives?”

Other users on social media criticised the film’s hashtag, “#LiveBoldy”, saying they were able to live fulfilling lives as they are rather than go to Dignitas.

Jojo Moyes, who wrote the book that prompted the film, responded to the criticism, saying that the movie is not meant to “represent all disabled people”.

Lacking safeguards

In September, MPs decisively voted against a Bill to legalise assisted suicide.

Conservative MP Fiona Bruce said the proposals lacked safeguards, while Labour MP Lyn Brown said she would vote against the Bill because it would “fundamentally change the way our society thinks” about the vulnerable.

Later, Dignity in Dying, formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, suggested it will push for a change in the law before the 2020 General Election, and will also use the courts to apply pressure.

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