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.
The ads for No Escape make it look like one of those numbskull disaster movies beloved of Roland Emmerich: Owen Wilson and Lake Bell rush towards the camera, clutching children, looking windswept and interesting, being pursued by God knows what.
A running time of 147 minutes smacks of a director with indulgence issues; one that is surrounded by too many ‘yes’ men. Granted, it has become the norm for movies to stretch well beyond their standard-issue 100-minute mark, but two and a half hours?