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The book, They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, and the movie, “Me Before You”

directed by Thea Sharrock, share a common theme. Their message is that life is short and we

should not waste time or effort trying to live up to other people’s expectations. Instead, we have

to live for ourselves. Through the use of point of view, an over the shoulder shot, and

foreshadowing, this theme is developed.

Throughout the book, They Both Die at the End, the point of view shifts from chapter to

chapter. The majority of the chapters are told from a first-person perspective from two

characters, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio. A few chapters scattered throughout the book are

told in a third-person perspective, but they are about characters who do not play a major role in

the plot. Because Adam Silvera predominantly used first-person perspective, the reader was able

to better connect with and understand the characters’ logic. This is important because both Mateo

and Rufus knew that they were going to die within the next twenty-four hours and they did not

know how to handle this situation. Not only did they know about their impending death, they

were also uncertain about their own actions and each other’s intentions. If the book was told

from a different perspective, the reader would not have gained insight into the minds of the

characters. An example can be seen in a quote from Mateo. He said, “I wasted time and missed

fun because I cared about the wrong things” (Silvera 303). Mateo was reflecting on his past

actions while trying to go forth and change his mentality with the few hours that he had left.

During one of the scenes in the movie “Me Before You,” there was a powerful over the

shoulder shot. In this shot, Will Traynor was looking out his window at the storm outside at

0:25:43. Then, the camera focuses on Will’s reflection in the window as the lighting changed.

During this moment Will comes to the realization of his current state and the effect he has on

Louisa Clark. In the beginning of the film, Will got into a motorcycle accident that left him
paralyzed. Shortly after, Lou was hired by Will’s mother to keep him company and to cheer him

up as much as she could. Will’s accident had limited his mobility and taken most of his freedom.

In his eyes, his life was over and this was no way of living. Up until this point, Will resisted help

because he thought that people were pitying him and that they did not understand his situation.

Lou was introduced into this situation and Will was not a fan of it. After about a week and a half,

Will began to like Lou and this is when his opinion of her shifted from resentful to accepting. By

seeing his own reflection in the window it was almost like looking in a mirror and realizing that

he did not like what he saw. This scene was included to show this sudden transition.

One common element in both the book They Both Die at the End and the movie “Me

Before You” is foreshadowing. Within the first two chapters of the book, the reader finds out that

the two main characters are going to die within the next twenty-four hours and there is nothing

they can do to avoid this. Mateo and Rufus found out their fate through an organization called

“Death Cast.” Essentially, somebody calls the individual around midnight to them that they are

going to die within the next day. They do not know how or when it will happen, but all they

know is that their death is inevitable. In the movie, the viewer finds out that Will has been

planning on traveling to Switzerland for physician assisted suicide about half way through the

film. Will promises to give his parents six months and nothing more. He keeps this promise and

makes the choice for himself. Once the six months are up he carries out his plan. Foreshadowing

is an important technique because it keeps the reader or viewer impatient for the next series of

events. Even though the reader knew that both Mateo and Rufus were going to die, they were

still engaged because they thought that there might be a small chance that they were not going to

die. Unfortunately, this was not the case. In the end, foreshadowing added an element of

suspense because the reader did not know what was going to happen next or when the characters’
final moments would be. Similarly, in the movie, the viewer did not know about Will’s intentions

until half way through the movie. After that, the viewer puts all of their hopes into Lou in an

attempt to save Will. Lou does everything in her power to try to prevent him from taking his own

life but she does not succeed. Throughout her efforts to prevent his death, the viewer was

engaged similarly to how the reader was. More importantly, the use of foreshadowing helped to

support the underlying message of the book and movie. In the book, Mateo said, “No matter

when it happens, we all have our endings. No one goes on, but what we leave behind keeps us

alive for someone else” (Silvera 302-303). In the movie, Will said, “You know what I see when I

look at you? Potential. You need to widen your horizons Clark. You only get one life. It’s actually

your duty to live it as fully as possible” (Sharrock 0:42:06-0:42:19). Both quotes support the idea

that it is important to live your life to its fullest and to live for yourself instead of for other

people. At the end of the day, you are all that you have left and you are the only one that you

have to live for.

The elements of point of view, an over the shoulder shot, and foreshadowing help to form

the common theme between the book They Both Die at the End and the movie “Me Before You.”

Without these elements, the message would not have been as strong and the audience would not

have been interested in the plot.


Works Cited

Sharrock, Thea, director. Me Before You. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2016.

Silvera, Adam. They Both Die at the End. Harper Teen, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,

2018.