Me Before You

Inciting Event: After losing a series of jobs and then being hired by the wealthy Mrs. Traynor to look after her quadriplegic son Will, Lou and Will finally meet. As with most love stories, the Inciting Event is the meeting of the two romantic leads—after spending the first half of the First Act introducing the main character and setting up her world and her initial problems.

First Plot Point: Just as she’s starting to get along with the cranky Will, Lou accidentally learns from his mother and sister that he is planning to commit assisted suicide in Switzerland in six months. The true conflict becomes clear to Lou now, and she spins into a series of reactions designed to change Will’s mind and give him a reason to live.

First Pinch Point: The first stage of Lou’s plan is to take Will on an “adventure” to the racetrack. But it turns out to be an unmitigated disaster that ends with Will stridently pointing out that if she had bothered to ask his opinion, he would have told he disliked racetracks in the first place. The antagonist here is really Will himself—and his determination that his life isn’t worth living because it’s no longer “big.” Here, Lou runs smack into that antagonistic force and learns Will’s true motive: that he is no longer in control of his own life.

Midpoint: This is perhaps the subtlest moment in the entire (well-done) structure. In a quiet Moment of Truth, Will challenges Lou to live a full life and stop limiting herself. It’s also a subtle turning point in their relationship, as they move farther and farther from antagonism and start drifting into friendship and love.

Second Pinch Point: Lou decides to finally move in with her long-time boyfriend Patrick—which emphasizes, again subtly, to Will that his own options are limited. It’s also a major turning point for Lou, as it forces her to face her feelings about Patrick, her life, and her fears. When she ends up breaking up with Patrick, it pushes her closer to Will.

Third Plot Point: On the heels of Lou finally getting Will to agree to a grand trip to a ranch in California (false victory), he is hospitalized with pneumonia, and all their plans come crashing down. In itself, this isn’t such a low moment—especially compared to the next turning point—but it swings the story around into its final descent.

Climax: After a beautiful vacation in Mauritius, where Lou finally confesses her love for him, Will announces that nothing she has done has changed his mind and that he still intends to commit suicide. Lou leaves him, heart-broken.

Climactic Moment: Will dies. This happens “off-screen,” but it is still clearly the end of conflict. Lou is unsuccessful in gaining her story goal. It is permanently out of her reach. Thus, the conflict must be at an end.

Resolution: Lou learns Will has left her enough money to go to school and have a few adventures.

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