Film Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl


bec2012_TNBec Stafford’s review is courtesy The Spotlight Report

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MeAndEarlAndTheDyingGirlPoster (1)Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is an offbeat, yet moving, tale of friendship and loyalty. Greg is a nerdy teen who, with his best mate, Earl, spends his time making short films based on cinema classics. Greg generally does his best to steer clear of the school’s complex social web, instead preferring to spend his lunch hours in a favourite teacher’s office with Earl, where they watch their favourite directors’ films. One afternoon, Greg is approached by his mother, who tells him the sad news that one of his schoolmates, Rachel, has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Furthermore, his mother insists that he reach out to Rachel and offer her companionship throughout her difficult time.

Based on Jesse Andrew’s popular novel of the same name, this film is by turns funny, sombre, touching, and uplifting. Told from Greg’s perspective, the melancholic moments are tempered by a teenage boy’s tendency to confront sentimentality with humour when faced with challenging subjects.

Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon has added some playful, creative elements to an otherwise often heartbreaking tale. The well-selected cast is a delight. Thomas Mann (Project X) imbues Greg with just the right balance of idiosyncratic charm and introspection. As his buddy Earl, Ronald Cyler II turns in a strong performance demonstrating impressive comedy chops and onscreen charisma. As Rachel, Olivia Cooke delivers an understated, nuanced performance, which adds authenticity and emotional depth to the mix. Some of the other cast members will be familiar to movie goers: Molly Shannon is excellent in the role of Rachel’s mother and Nick Offerman is a hoot as Greg’s eccentric father.

It’s not surprising to learn that the movie was a hit at Sundance, winning both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl makes for a moving, humorous, and relatable experience — one which will be appreciated by teens and adults alike.


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