There’s a good reason Me And Earl And The Dying Girl won both the Grand Jury Prize for Narrative Features and the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It is a movie that both critics and audiences should be able to agree is very special. And as I say in my video review above, it might look like a teen movie, but it is really a film about people who happen to be teens. It’s as human, funny and touching a story as you are likely to see all year. This one’s a keeper.
Based on the 2013 YA novel by Jesse Andrews, who got to the pointed and brilliantly original screenplay (even though he didn’t even know what a screenplay looked like), the story revolves around socially awkward Greg (Thomas Mann), a movie fanatic who has been making puppet-driven takeoffs on movies since grade school with best friend Earl (RJ Cyler). They have titles like A Sockwork Orange and A Box O Lips Wow. There are 42 in all, many spread throughout the film and most clever and funny. But that’s not the crux of this movie. At the urging of his mother (Connie Britton), Greg reluctantly pays a visit to a family friend, Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who has leukemia and isn’t doing all that great. The encounter begins awkwardly indeed, but eventually an unexpected friendship and relationship begins between the pair – not a romantic one, but oddly deeper. Also in the mix is a high school hottie (Katherine Hughes) who you totally think you can telegraph but you would be wrong.
Think of any classic movie about a young people from The Breakfast Club to Fast Times At Ridgemont High and add Me And Earl And The Dying Girl to the list. In an odd way it really reminded me of the joy I felt when I saw Harold And Maude. But this movie has its own rhythms and grace. The young cast is truly exceptional — a word I think I used in my video review about four times. The adults including Britton, Nick Offerman and Molly Shannon are fine, but they are not the center of this film, nor should they be. But I guarantee you that audiences of any age will be able to relate. That’s the mark of a great film, and this is a great film, destined to live on. Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon brings a unique vision and fresh voice to the table, and it all works. Fox Searchlight begins a platform run today. Let’s hope people discover this gem.
Do you plan to see Me And Earl And The Dying Girl? Let us know what you think.