Thursday 18 January 2018

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl review: 'brimful of charm and playfulness, albeit with a sucker punch lurking just below the surface'

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Tanya Sweeney

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.

4*

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.

Herald

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