Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review: Long Live

Chad White, Coming of age, No wait I'm too old

Hot girls will destroy your life

Boy, this summer is just filled with coming of age stories that are destroying my tear ducts. First Dope hits with a poignant story about race and misconception. Now, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl weaves a story of acceptance. The two movies relate with tales of fitting in but the latter focuses on a teen who knows everybody but himself. Greg (Thomas Mann) considers himself an outsider that is friends with everyone by proxy, not associating himself with any one group. His closest friend is his “co-worker” Earl (RJ Cyler), a young black kid with who he makes parodies of classic movies.  The two of them befriend a classmate, Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who is diagnosed with cancer.

For what it’s worth, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl feels at home in its spirit of teen independence. It paints a picture of high school life that has been seen before. Yes, it includes the stereotypical jock vs geek vs goth mentality but it also manages to circumvent hackneyed storytelling via Greg. He is the viewer’s agent as he takes us through this school with his categorizations and semi understanding of how things work. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is comfortable which may be due to screenwriter Jesse Andrews adapting his novel for the silver screen. Mann and his cohorts are all the while carrying an otherwise flawless movie. Everyone does a magnificent job: Mann is a perfect angst ridden wanderer; Cyler is wonderful his no-nonsense characteristics; Cooke matches Mann on an emotional level, almost eclipsing him at times.

A glimpse into the lives of these city kids getting in touch with their emotions finds this movie in a quirky position. Direction makes it come off as a Wes Anderson-styled movie but it marks up its own charm. There are quiet moments near the end but don’t believe this to be a sappy movie. Closure is not found for any character save for Greg. Things are left in an odd position as futures aren’t specifically discussed. It’s an unexpectedly nice feeling. For a time it bothered me but, after thinking it through, the ending suited the preceding story.

Should you go see Me and Earl and the Dying Girl?

A thousand times yes. There is so much explored in this movie that I couldn’t write about here. I’m not sure how good the book is but its big screen adaptation is something to behold. Come award season, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl will surely get the recognition it deserves.

 

Notes

  • I didn’t mention Nick Offerman and Connie Britton as Greg’s parents. They stole the show. Britton’s consoling mother and Offerman’s spacey father are a treat in the small amount of time they’re featured. Molly Shannon also did admirably as Rachel’s mom. Her tipsy, wine sipping attitude added the right amount of comedy. She even gets a true to life scene where she talks about her ex. And that plays a role in the last minutes of the movie. Ahhh I love it.
  • You could say Earl is from the wrong side of the tracks.
  • My new celebrity crush is Olivia Cooke. Hey girl.
  • John Bernthal is the cool teacher that Greg and Earl hang out with. He’s chill.
  • This movie was acquired by Fox Searchlight Pictures for twelve million from Sundance. I would’ve sold a small child for it. They’re worth that much, right?
  • I wanted to cry but there was a group of teenagers sitting behind me. I’m sure they heard me choke up.
  • The song used at the end is Explosion in the Sky’s “Remember Me As A Time Of Day.” I almost lost my shit when I recognized the tune. Man, what a great song.