Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review

Before I get into the review of the actual film, I do want to explain about how I first heard of it. About 2 years ago, in my freshman film class, we were given a stack of screenplays. Our assignment was to choose one, read it, and finally assign a cast a crew to the screenplay. All of the screenplays were blacklisted, which basically meant that they were not yet in development. Coincidentally, the screenplay I chose was for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I really enjoyed reading it, and when I heard that a film was in development, I was overjoyed. Now, after reading the screenplay and seeing the film, does the film live up? Well, yes. Yes it does.
I Don’t Need Your Stupid Pity
What I love most about this film is the tone. When I read the screenplay I thought the film could have been much more gritty, but this film is more quirky than gritty. There are instances that delve into dramatic territory, but the film embraces an offbeat attitude, and it is one of its’ highlights. The films’ quirkiness is demonstrated through both the cinematography and the writing. Both of them are top notch, but the cinematography greatly resembles the work of Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom, Grand Budapest Hotel). This is in no way bad, in fact I am glad to see more directors embracing his style. However, if the style does not fit well with the other aspects of the film (dialogue, music, characters) then it would cause the film to be inconsistent. This is not the case. Wes Anderson’s quirky style fits very well in this film because of a great script. What I love about this script is that it doest not make light of a dark situation, but it looks at it from a different perspective. Cancer is no laughing matter, and the film does not turn it into a joke. However, unlike other films, it does not take it far too seriously. The best way to explain how this film approaches cancer, is to bring up another film that approaches cancer in a similar way: 50/50. The difference here is that your protagonist is not the one with cancer, and your main characters are all in high school. Speaking of characters, all of them are very interesting, and the actors do a great job of bringing them to life. The standout for me is Olivia Cooke. She really does a phenomenal job as Rachel, and is able to convey all the heartbreak and frustration that comes with being diagnosed with cancer. Out of everyone in the cast, she definitely felt the most genuine. The rest of the cast was good, but she really stood out with her heartbreaking performance. I will also say this film has a catchy soundtrack, and a great sense of humor. I was finding myself laughing through most of it, and when the film needed to be dramatic, it did a really good job of that too.
Enter a Subhuman State
Now, as far as what the film does not get right, there is not too much of it. My biggest problem with the film is similar to the problem I had with last years The Fault In Our Stars: the film makes a promise of avoiding clichés, but is unable to fulfill that promise. Unlike The Fault In Our Stars there are not too many cliché moments, but the second act does rely too heavily on them. I will not go into details for the sake of spoilers, but these moments did not feel as genuine as the rest of the film, and hurt the rest of the film. Another problem is Thomas Mann as Greg. He gives a fine performance, but during this second act he has to convey a sense of frustration that he was never successfully able to do. In fact, during the second act his performance was notably worse than the first and third act. It was not bad, but I believe it could have been better. Other than that, I really had no other problems with this film. I found myself quite entertained, and reminded why I love going to see films.
Closing Remarks
This is not a perfect film, but it has very few flaws. These flaws are overshadowed by what the film is able to achieve, and for that I cannot recommend it more than I already have. It has several strong performances (particularly from Olivia Cooke), an unusual tone, interesting characters, and great cinematography. Instead of seeing a huge blockbuster like Terminator or Jurassic World, go and see a smaller film like this. While it may be small in scope, it is a more impactful film than most blockbusters can ever hope to achieve.


One thought on “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review

  1. Hi I have started a blog about short films catered to people interested in film or filmmaking would mean a lot if you could check it out
    I also have a Twitter if you’d like to follow-@brevisweb

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