Sometimes you fall in love with something even though you KNOW you shouldn’t. You go into it knowing that your heart will be broken, so you TRY to not get emotionally attached. Then, without even realizing it, you are head over heels and completely committed. That was my experience with Me and Earl and The Dying Girl. I knew immediately what was going to happen, but I let it hurt me anyway, so I guess I have no one to blame but myself.
It’s not an unfamiliar story, especially after last year’s The Fault In Our Stars. Fortunately, Me and Earl and The Dying Girl doesn’t take itself THAT seriously. Thomas Mann plays Greg, a senior in high school who tries his hardest to stay invisible. He has one true friend named Earl (played by an awesome RJ Cyler) and together they make parodies of classic films like Citizen Kane and Midnight Cowboy. Greg’s mother (played by a makeup-free Connie Britton) forces him to visit Rachel, a classmate who was diagnosed with Leukemia, and an unlikely friendship forms. Olivia Cooke (from Bates Motel) plays Rachel and she’s painfully beautiful, even when she loses her hair to chemo. It’s hard to imagine that this girl wouldn’t have a line of boys waiting to hold her hand through illness, but it’s one of those movie cliches we’re expected to accept. So, for whatever reason, this angelic and adorably funny girl has a blank space by her side as she battles cancer and Greg is there to fill it.
Me and Earl and The Dying Girl is surprisingly cheerful, given the subject matter. In fact, two of my favorite funny people, Nick Offerman and Molly Shannon, play comic foils as the parents. Nick Offerman is wonderful as Greg’s hippy Dad, but he disappears almost entirely when the movie gets serious. Molly Shannon portrays Rachel’s Mom and I wish she could have played the role with less exaggertaion. I guess the Sick-Girl’s-Mom concept was too depressing, so they made her more of a caricature. I get why Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and writer Jesse Andrews did that, but I feel they missed an opportunity to show more REAL emotion. Every one of the actors approached their role with care, though. It’s as if they all loved the story and characters so much that no one wanted to be the overacter or the jerk who phoned it in.
As I’ve already stated, I loved Me and Earl and The Dying Girl, even when I knew I was being manipulated. I loved it even when I knew it could be funnier or less predictable. I loved it so much that I almost didn’t care when the person sitting behind me started kicking my seat and crinkling their empty water bottle. I loved Me and Earl and The Dying Girl even when that person had a phlegmy coughing fit and then started burping up what must have been the fish sandwich they ate for dinner. THAT’S how much I loved Me and Earl and The Dying Girl and why I’m giving it an A-. Sometimes, you have to let go of all your preconceived notions and love something, just because it leaves you with no other choice.
You can buy tickets to see Me and Earl and The Dying Girl by clicking HERE but you should absolutely watch the trailer first.