Title – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)
Director – Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (The Town that Dreaded Sundown)
Cast – Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, RJ Cyler, Nick Offerman, Jon Bernthal, Molly Shannon, Connie Britton
Plot – Low key high school student Greg (Mann) whose only friendship is with fellow film fanatic and co-director Earl (Ryler), finds himself becoming close with Rachel (Cooke) after she’s diagnosed with Leukaemia and Greg’s mom thinks Greg should spend time with her. A life changing friendship and DIY movie making quickly ensues.
“This is the story of my senior year of high school and how it destroyed my life”
Review by Eddie on 24/09/2015
A cleverly put together and thoughtful indie dramedy that does the near impossible job of being many different things often all at once, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon has turned this former Black List listed script by Jesse Andrews into a likeable and unique tale of friendship, growing up and perhaps most importantly, the way movies inspire and influence our lives.
For film lovers Me and Earl and the Dying Girl will be a real treat with its numerable movie references and wistful low budget reincarnations of classic films both well-known and more abstract, and where films like Michel Gondry’s terrible Be Kind Rewind tried to pay homage to the art of home movie making, Earl succeeds in showcasing the joys that can be found for film lovers who take their keenness one step further into the realms of no budget reincarnations. Gomez-Rejon does a great job of never allowing these films to take over however and his movie is competent enough to stand by itself with a strangely touching and unpredictable arc.
Playing nicely against such genre conventions, Earl never actually threatens to become a teen romance that we’ve seen so many times before and we can be thankful as an audience member that Earl is in fact just a simple tale of friendship. Played well by our trio of young actors in the form of lead Thomas Mann as Greg, the impressive Olivia Cooke as the Dying Girl of the title Rachel and RJ Cyler as Greg’s “colleague” and comic relief partner Earl, the film wins bonus points thanks to these talented performers. Greg in particular is an interesting character, a shy teen who is afraid to show his true colours for fear of retribution and while his not an always likeable character, he is certainly someone we grow to appreciate even when his being self-loathing and self-defeating. With strong yet small supports from Jon Bernthal and the scene stealing Nick Offerman, Earl’s cast is a real winner.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a quietly affecting and unpredictable affair filmed with an impressive energy and style by Gomez-Rejon a clear audience favourite that garnered some of Sundance’s top gongs at this year’s festival, Earl strangely found a tough time recently at the American box office meaning that there are a large portion of us yet to see this likeable and unique journey, if your one of these people, Earl is well worth your time.
3 ½ fluffy pillows out of 5