Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
A Review by Paul Harrington
I would like to begin by saying that I have never written a review before. However, I am a very annoyingly opinionated person and a medically diagnosed cinephile, so I guess Speedy (you may know her as Ana, but because of the time we shared during our missions in Guadalajara, she will always be Speedy to me) put two and two together and thought “Paul would be great at this!” So please, if you don’t agree with my review, just know that you are wrong and I am right. Here we go…
At first, I was very hesitant to see “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”. I was very worried it was going to be yet another of a long string of mediocre films capitalizing on the success of the YA genre (Lookin’ at you Maze Runner and Divergent, you sons of bitches). I was especially concerned that it was a wannabe cancer drama that was riding on the coattails of a little known film entitled “The Fault in Our Stars”. So when Speedy and I walked into the Boynton Cinemark (which makes the Boca Cinemark look like Dachau, I say much to my chagrin) I didn’t know what to expect. However, when I exited the pride of Boynton, I was convinced that “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” may be one of the best movies of 2015 so far. Thomas Mann stars as Greg, a very socially awkward high school senior and comedic film maker alongside his friend (he actually uses the words business partner to describe their relationship) Earl (Ronald Cyler II). After Greg is pressured by his mother to hang out with Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate who was diagnosed with Leukemia, the two form an unlikely bond and a very lovely friendship blossoms. This is just the basis for the film and the plot does go through changes as it goes on.
What really makes this film work is the chemistry between the characters. I loved listening to their humorously dry banter and the way they interacted on and off their high school campus. Some of the more poignant scenes take place in Rachel’s room where Greg and Earl visit her after school. These scenes really displayed the actor’s ranges and I am very excited to see their work in the future. Another highlight of the film is all the colorful side characters. Most notably, Nick Offerman and Connie Britton play Greg’s parents and Molly Shannon of SNL fame plays Rachel’s mother. These actors really know how to steal scenes and provided some of the best moments of the movie. I was also surprised to see Jon Bernthal from “The Walking Dead” play the badass and quirky history teacher.
Putting the hilarity of the characters aside, what “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is about is struggle. I really found myself identifying with Greg sometimes just because of how he described high school and how rough it can be. Rachel’s deterioration is also very heartbreaking to watch and I would always try to relax by remembering what Greg promised us at the beginning of the movie. What I really found amazing about this movie was how based in the struggles of reality it is. There is no dystopian future, there is no chosen one, hell, there is not even an attractive boyfriend to swoop in and take us all to Amsterdam. There is a realism to this story that I believe everyone can at least partially identify to. I am very happy I saw this movie, and I really hope that some of you find the time to check it out.