Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review


In The Mix
Director - Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Writer - Jesse Andews (Screenplay & Novel)
Cast - Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Jon Bernthal

The Skinny in 10 Words
"Breathing new life into this high school genre about death."

The Quote
"One last thing. Hot girls destroy your life. That's just a fact."

The Beef
The big screen debut from director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (say that name 3 times fast...) takes the form of a tried and tested genre, the American High School movie. Given that he has directed episodes of both Glee and the US TV cult hit, American Horror Story it was anyone's guess as to how this movie would work out.

Good news! This movie is an indie smash hit and well worth a trip to the cinema or a Sunday night on the sofa. It's both quirky and funny, which is pretty impressive for a movie with cancer at its core.

The story very quickly is this; soon to be graduating, Greg (Mann), likeable but very much watching high school from the sidelines, is forced by his mother to befriend recently diagnosed with cancer classmate, Rachel (Brit born Cooke).

You'll recognise the lead role, Greg, from his turn as the loveable loser in Project X (what a film that was for your inner teen) and his teacher/mentor Mr McCarthy (Bernthal) of The Walking Dead fame. The film itself has a touch of Zach Braff's, Garden State about it and that can only ever be a very good thing. It has many more levels beneath its surface than you would expect. It is beautifully shot and it evokes emotion in the audience that we aren't even really aware of at the time.

The two best friends, Greg and Earl (a debut role for Cyner) attempts at film-making are the vehicle for the film's story that are genius in their childlike brilliance. From "Breathe Less"/Breathless to "A Sockwork Orange"/A Clockwork Orange and "Rear Wind"/Rear Window, the director is able to pay homage to his heroes.

Popcorn or Pie
It has a heart, it has humour and not a cheap high school gag in sight. This indie has come up trumps with its alternative and grown up take on the "school sucks and jocks are lame" mould.

Say What?: The movie won the US Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was sold for $12M. This is a record distribution deal in Sundance's history.

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