ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL won the Grand Jury prize as well the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival last winter. The movie is a refreshingly creative and very funny coming-of-age story about a bright but immature high school boy whose life changes after he becomes friends with a girl who has terminal cancer.
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL has its sad moments, but it mainly uses humor to deal with a very serious subject. Thomas Mann stars as Gregg, a likable teenager who is trying to survive his senior year of high school by not getting close to anyone. But his mother forces him to befriend an acquaintance who’s been diagnosed with leukemia. Olivia Cooke plays Rachel.
Rachel: I don’t need your stupid pity.
Gregg: I’m not here because I pity you. I’m actually here because my mom is making me.
Rachel: That’s actually worse.
But Gregg talks Rachel into hanging out with him for a day just to get his mom off his back.
Gregg: One of the things you can do if you don’t want to talk to people is enter a subhuman state. Pretend your someone annoying.
Rachel: Hi Rachel, I’m really sorry you have cancer.
Gregg starts flopping around mumbling incoherently.
She does the same thing.
Gregg: That’s exactly what I’m talking about.
Gregg (voice over): So if this was a touching romantic story, our eyes would meet and suddenly we would be furiously making out with the fire of a thousand suns. But this is not a touching, romantic story.
The other really important character in this highly original film is R.J. Cyler as Earl, who Gregg introduces to Rachel as his co-worker.
Rachel: So you and Gregg are co-workers?
Earl: No, we friends. Dude is afraid of calling somebody his friend. Dude’s got issues.
Rachel: But how are you co-workers?
Earl: We make films.
Earl: They’re terrible.
Rachel: Gregg! You never told me.
The film parodies of famous movies (SENIOR CITIZEN KANE, EYES WIDE BUTT, THE 400 BROS for example) are especially enjoyable. But they are just one part of makes watching ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL a unique and satisfying experience.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.