Me and Earl and the Dying Girl review: 'brimful of charm and playfulness, albeit with a sucker punch lurking just below the surface'
Published 04/09/2015 | 10:15
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is brought to you by the same studio that birthed both Juno and (500) Days Of Summer. A big hit at this year’s Sundance Festival, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is brimful of charm and playfulness, albeit with a sucker punch lurking just below the surface.
The story follows Greg (Thomas Mann), a loner with a creative bent who has one pal in his high school: the equally quirky Earl (RJ Cycler). At the behest of his mum (Connie Britton), he has been forced to hang out with Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a girl of around the same age who has been diagnosed with leukaemia. What starts as a pity date evolves into a tentative friendship.
“If this was a touching romantic story, our eyes would meet and suddenly we’d be making out with the fire of a thousand suns,” explains Greg. “But this isn’t a touching romantic story.”
In reality, it is a film that hits the same tonal notes as several other teen-angst films, while still managing to remain organic and fresh. Greg, Earl and Rachel are as believable and layered as they are adorable; each of their friendships nicely textured.
Above all else, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is an ode to friendship, rather than a snapshot of awkward teenage romance. And if the ending doesn’t leave you emotionally spent, you may well need to turn in your human being credentials on your way out.