What The Fault in Our Stars failed to become.
Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, socially awkward teenager, Greg (Thomas Mann), has one main purpose in high school – to be nothing more than civil to anyone. Earl (RJ Cyler) is the only person whom Greg spends time with, though still refuses to call a friend, and instead labels him as his “co-worker”, since they produce independent films together. However, this is all altered when Greg’s mother (Connie Britton), forces him to hang out with Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who has not long been diagnosed with Leukaemia.
Distressingly realistic, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl grasps a slightly different approach than other films with the same type of narrative. It doesn’t just focus on Rachel and her Leukaemia, but instead the story is told from Greg’s perspective, and how becoming friends with Rachel influences his life. Comedic elements are present throughout – so it shouldn’t be taken too seriously for the most part. Thomas Mann gives a perfect teenager-esque performance. As does Olivia Cooke, who one cannot help but wonder why she is always given the ‘ill-girl’ role…(as also seen in Bates Motel). Nonetheless, she pulls off the part flawlessly, and slightly too convincingly if I must say so myself. The film uses a range of unique camera shots and angles typical to the independent genre, which are not at all distracting, only complementing the film’s uniqueness.
While expressing sadness, it is also remarkably acted, along with a beautiful screenplay. A quirky sense of realism is established, in terms of how high school is viewed, swaying away from the stereotype-heavy school flicks that are forever strutting our way. To lie and say this film is not a tearjerker… unfortunately, this is not true. But nevertheless, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl attaches a powerful message, regardless of whether or not you have lost anyone in your life personally.