Strangely enough for a film with such an explanatory title, I didn’t know what to expect with this one. Was it going to become an epic love story, star crossed lovers and illness ready to tear them apart. Was it a weepie? Was it a drama? Are they being facetious? Are they trying to confuse me by putting dying girl in the title to throw off the fact that she doesn’t die?! So many questions I needed answers to, so I had to watch it before my brain exploded from overthinking!
Confession: I completely wrote this off as a sappy teen romance movie, and it was only seeing your review in our drafts list that made me think 'oh fine, I'll give it a go'!
Greg (Thomas Mann) has nailed High School, he has managed to integrate himself slightly into every group in the school without being so involved that others actually notice him. He calls his Best friend, Earl (RJ Cyler) his co-worker (as they make movies together) and basically refuses to develop any real relationships during High School. Unfortunately, one of his classmates, Rachel (Olivia Cooke) develops cancer and he is forced by his Mom and Dad to be friends with her - who by the way, I loved in this, great choice casting Nick Offerman and Connie Britton. Offerman for EVERYTHING!
If this was any other weepie/romcom etc they would have fallen in love in the first act, made big plans for the future in the second act and she would die/get better in the third – making it utterly predictable. This however, was not your average romcom/weepies and Greg and Rachel become great friends (and nothing more) but find a sort of happy place with each other (even Greg who actively avoids having friends). Nothing really happens throughout the film, there’s no big story or adventure it’s just three people who come together and have to deal with this very real situation.
Greg is such a clever character. He manages to blend in with everyone so well without getting too close to them and I feel like he does that to us as an audience as well. It isn't until he himself slips up in his social, yet anti-social plan that we even get to see some real emotions underneath, and I love that.
Sometimes it's the little things that stick with me, and one of my favourite things about Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the film making that Greg and Earl do. Their amended titles of actual films were hilarious, and I want to watch this again just to see those titles again and work out what they're all based on!
I’m not sure how memorable this film is as it has so far been a week or so since I saw it and I feel like I need to watch it again to write my review, I’m not sure in a year I will even remember having watched it, which seems a shame because I do remember enjoying it, just not why! (There is a very real possibility that my memory is fading in my old age, rather than films becoming less memorable – who knows!) What I do remember is the filming being different from anything I have seen in this category, the final scene with Rachel, where she is watching the movie Greg and Earl have made her was beautifully shot and quite mesmerising.
I felt like there was a definite split in the movie, the first part was a light-hearted, coming of age flick, and then there's a turning point where your emotions are all gathered up, scrunched into a ball and dropped at your feet. The last 20 minutes had me ugly crying in front of the TV with no warning whatsoever!
Great independent film that feels more real than big studio versions.
Don't make the mistake I made of trying to compare Me and Earl and the Dying Girl to The Fault in Our Stars. They are such different movies. This might be a contender for my top 10 of the year!