Me Before You | 2016
Jojo Moyes’ best-selling weepie gets a predictably soapie movie treatment from erstwhile stage director Thea Sharrock.
The unspecified ‘English’ town, where manic pixie dream-girl Lou Clark (Emilia Clarke) is hired to look after dour, depressed quadriplegic Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), is the south Wales town of Pembroke, dominated by Pembroke Castle in the grounds of which the wealthy Traynor family is supposed to live.
The castle, dating back to 1093 and renowned as the birth place of King Henry VII and the Tudor dynasty, was a major location for Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky and briefly seen at the beginning of 1968 drama The Lion In Winter, with Katharine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole.
In the town of Pembroke itself, the ‘Buttered Bun’ and the ‘Riverside Picture House’ were faked on Main Street.
‘Grantchester House’, the Traynor family home within the castle walls, is Wytham Abbey, a private manor house in Oxfordshire. All of the exteriors immediately around the house and the interior of the main house were shot there. It’s not open to the public.
The contrastingly modest exterior of the working-class Clark house was filmed in Harrow in North London, while a private home in Esher, Surrey, doubled as the premises of the ‘Dignitas’ clinic in Switzerland,
Also in Esher, Sandown Park Racecourse was used for both the day at the races and to stand in as the airport check-in. Opened in 1875, one of the first racecourses in England to charge admission, Sandown Park still operates today.
The wedding was filmed at St Michael's Church at Chenies, a couple of miles east of Amersham in Buckinghamshire, is a Grade I listed Anglican parish church alongside Chenies Manor House – a frequent film location itself, seen in Woody Allen’s Cassandra's Dream, with Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell, as well as TV productions such as Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders and 2008’s Little Dorritt. If you're in the area, Amersham is home to the two inns which became The Jolly Boatman in Four Weddings And A Funeral.
The exotic holiday in ‘Mauritius’ was filmed on the island of Mallorca in the Spanish Balearic Islands, at the Barceló Formentor Hotel and along the adjoining beach. The hotel is a few miles east of Port de Pollença, up on the northeastern tip of the island.
Lou, of course, finally realises her ambition to visit Paris, where she gazes longingly into the window of l’Artisan Parfumeur, when it stood at 2 Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny (the store has since moved to Boulevard Saint-Germain).
The terrace café is Restaurant Paul, 15 Place Dauphine, the quiet little triangle at the western end of the Ile de la Cité, near to Pont Neuf. You may recognise the restaurant from Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris as the place that a coach and horses arrive to give Adriana her trip back into the past. Regular diners here were Yves Montand and Simone Signoret – they lived in an apartment above the restaurant.
Lou is finally scene heading off across the River Seine via the wildly elaborate Pont Alexandre III.