The part when I introduce Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
This film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. No other movie from there garnered as much hype and glowing reviews as this one did. Since then, I’ve been eagerly waiting for when a theater near me would be showing it. Luckily, I finally found one and was able to see it.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is about a boy (“Me” or Greg) in high school who is reluctantly forced into befriending a girl (“The Dying Girl” or Rachel) diagnosed with leukemia. Neither of them are excited to have the others company, but nevertheless, they spend time together and develop a special friendship. Greg also spends his time with “Earl” or Earl, remaking a number of classic films.
And If you were unaware, I am writing this review in the same format as the film.
The part where I talk about the actors and their characters
Each of the three main characters I’ve talked about share a touching, inspiring, and funny story together. The chemistry between Greg (Thomas Mann) and Rachel (Olivia Cooke) is key to this film. Without it, it doesn’t work. Both Mann and Cooke play such complex roles and do it effortlessly. Most importantly, it doesn’t look like they are acting. Their relationship was so refreshing and believable throughout. They weren’t cliches or characters that felt written. They were just people.
With a little less screen time, RJ Cyler as Earl gives another great performance. He had a very strong presence, good comedic timing, and showed his chops dramatically. His dynamic with his coworker/friend, Greg, was also a high (pun intended, especially if you’ve seen the movie) part of this film. They have been friends since childhood and both have a fondness for classic and foreign films. I’ll talk more about that.
There’s even more comedic talent outside of the main three. Being a high school movie, there’s a lot of the same characters you’ve seen before. Similar to the way films like Mean Girls and High School Musical portray cliques and social groups in high school, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl does a fantastic job of showing these groups, especially in the lunch room. Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, and Molly Shannon all play parents here as well, adding their own, sometimes irrelevant, humor to the film.
The part where I talk about how I felt
I truly enjoyed and loved watching this film. Although dealing with a sad and serious subject, it often felt very lighthearted and fun. Not only that, but it felt different than anything I have seen in a long time, especially from the movies I’ve seen this summer. It had the whimsical qualities that you’d find in a Wes Anderson film, and offbeat comedy that worked so well. The occasional narration and storytelling feels like it is actively trying to avoid cliches, even going as far as toying with the audience.
While I have no doubt many people are going to laugh and enjoy this film a lot, it is also going to hit you with strong emotions and have you leave with an emotional weight you didn’t have before. But that’s not a bad thing. I won’t give away anything, including the big question everyone will ask. I can simply say that you will be touched by this story, and will be filled with a range of emotions. A later scene that goes on a good five minutes with no dialogue and an appropriate song accompanying it is going to hit you hard, or your money back. Not from me though.
The part where I (and a lot of people) connect to this movie
A huge selling point for me was the part about Greg and Earl making films based off of old classics. As a film enthusiast, there were so many “easter eggs” to find, including finding the most Scorsese references and identifying films they’re spoofing. I absolutely adored seeing shots of them making these films, and just the titles of them were incredibly funny. Their spins on movies like Midnight Cowboy and A Clockwork Orange had many, including me, laughing a lot.
At its center, this movie is about friendship. It is a coming of age story that demonstrates why and how friendship is important. Greg is a loner, but has no problems interacting with anyone. He goes through life doing just enough to not make any enemies of someone, while also not getting close to anyone. He’s very aware of his place in life, then comes to realize the value of having people close to you and that you need friends to get through life, especially high school.
The part when I conclude Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Delightfully different from every other summer film this year, I was wholeheartedly entertained and moved by Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Any film appreciator is definitely going to have a good time following this story and finding little hints here and there. A wider audience is still going to feel this movie in their hearts and enjoy a wonderful film with genuinely interesting characters. I left the theater with a mix of feelings, which all led to me to the conclusion that I just experienced something amazing.