Howdy people of the internet, time for another film review and today I’ll be talking about Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I saw the trailer but this film around 2 to 3 weeks ago I believe and I knew it was one to look out for, however, I wasn’t sure it’d get a viewing in my local cinema because it seemed too indie for my cinema, but lucky me I got to see it and now I’m ready to pass judgement!
The plot can be summed up as the following:
“High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.”
It is a little hard to describe my feelings on this story. Like in my reviews of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and more recently Paper Towns, I love films that have a heavy focus the lives of young people in school, their transitions into college/university and their bonds of friendship, and this film definitely had that in spades. This film is basically about a boy who befriends a girl who is dying and their time together. But what I loved about this film was that there was a heavy focus on Greg, his school life, backstory with Earl, in addition to his interaction with Rachel during her time with leukemia. I also loved the film references as they were really well-done, funny and I liked how self-aware the film was too. The first half of the film is quite strange, awkward and funny, but eventually the film does get quite serious and it hits really hard. Cancer is a serious subject matter that has to be handled with care and this film tackled it in a realistic manner, and it also helped that this film really effected the relationship between Greg and Rachel together and individually. At one point I found myself on the verge of tears because the emotions were riding really high and the drama was heavy, this film had me emotionally. However, because of the nature of the story things do get a little heavy and depressing, and while this shouldn’t be a negative, it does make repeat viewings and my enjoyment of the film drop a bit.
The cast was really impressive and did such great jobs in their roles. Firstly Thomas Mann was great as Greg Gaines, at first Greg comes across as an awkward, introverted yet smart individual who has a system in place for getting through high school, but everything changes when he meets Rachel and has to deal with a new kind of situation in terms of friendship that he hasn’t dealt with before and allows him to come to terms with some of his own issues. RJ Cyler was also good as Earl, he provided a lot of great moments of humour and drama, and had some lovely chemistry with Mann as these two friends/associates who make films together. And then there’s Olivia Cooke as Rachel Kushner who was wonderful, Rachel’s quiet, yet witty and nice and it’s interesting to see her bond and change over the course of the film from being alone to accepting people who befriend her in dark period of her life. I really liked Jon Bernthal as Mr. McCarthy as he was humourous and memorable. I also liked Connie Britton and Nick Offerman as Mr. & Mrs. Gaines, they were quite interesting characters especially Offerman as Greg’s father who had such a strange yet funny personality. And Molly Shannon was hilarious as Denise Kushner being this loving, funny yet strangely flirtatious mother to Rachel.
I also have to mention the use of animation as their use was quite humourous and helped create some interesting transitions between scenes. And the soundtrack by Brian Eno and Nico Muhly was gorgeous, it had a lot power and emotion behind it, and there is one track in particular towards the end of the film which is so moving and beautiful, it is both sad and amazing at the same time.
In conclusion Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a powerful film, that has a touching story, really great performances and a lovely soundtrack. That being said the film’s subject matter really does make it hard to recommend and it isn’t a film I’d want watch again anytime soon. But its positives do outweigh the negatives, it really just depends on what you’re looking to get out of the film.
So have you seen Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see you on the next review, laters! 😀