“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” Movie Review

Damn, did this movie hit close to home or what? Certainly in my book. This coming-of-age comedy-drama film by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon was released on June 12th, 2015, meaning it was slightly overshadowed by Inside Out. That’s okay though because it already was gaining strong reviews at the Sundance Film Festival and early screenings. Based on the novel of the same name by Jesse Andrews, the plot is told from the perspective of Greg Gaines, an awkward and self-hating senior boy in high school who tries to drift in the schools cliques. One day, he learns from his mother that an old childhood friend of his, Rachel Kushner, is diagnosed with leukemia. Greg is then forced by his mother, played professionally by Connie Bolton, to befriend Rachel and comfort her through chemotherapy. Now let me just gush about Rachel for a second. She has to be one of the most fascinating, sympathetic, down-to-Earth, perfectly written and acted characters I’ve seen in some time; possibly the greatest cancer-stricken movie character to date. Olivia Cooke captures her emotional struggle so well and her chemistry with Thomas Mann as Greg is very strong. Eventually Greg drags his best friend and filmmaking partner, Earl, to help him through the process, and even eventually make a movie about her. Meanwhile, Greg’s social life at school begins to change drastically. Nick Offerman plays his care-free father who gives him some absurd advice while Greg’s teacher Mr. McCarthy tells him that his grades are dropping. In fact, his grades are so poor that the college he applies for rescinds his application. The screenplay, written by the book’s author Jesse Andrews, is beautifully balanced between drama and comedy, leaving laughing during one moment and then choking up in the next. It was so close to home. Possibly the funniest part in the whole movie was when Greg visited Rachel for the first time. Her poster of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine started mentally speaking to Greg using Hugh Jackman’s actual voice. This was probably the funniest I’ve heard of Jackman yet. The film also seems to have a deep, passionate love for classic cinema. Most of the films Earl and Greg made together are parodies of classic films. So something like A Clockwork Orange would be modified into something silly like A Sockwork Orange. They’re supposed to be hilariously bad, but some actually also kind of cute. As one of my favorite films of the year so far, I can tell you that this film is emotion-heavy and leave you with an entirely different perspective on cancer once you walk out of the theater. A beautiful movie based on a beautiful novel, Me and Earl and The Dying Girl was funny as it was insightful on the process of chemotherapy and true friendship. You can just skip out on summer movie crap like Terminator: Genysis and The Gallows and try to branch out into a more independent and artistic film. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

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