Lowdown: An antisocial high schooler is forced to befriend a colleague dying of cancer.
Read the summary of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and it won’t light you on fire. However, as is usually the case, it’s not the end that matters as much as how you get there. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is certainly a film that makes getting there nice while releasing some thoughts in its viewer’s minds.
We follow Greg (Thomas Mann), a Pittsburgh high schooler whose way of surviving in that tough savannah of the greater high school plains is to establish shallow connections with every clique out there, from super nerd to super cool, without really associating himself with any. He has only one friend, Earl (RJ Cyler), a black guy from a rougher neighbourhood. They spend their lunches together away from the chaos of the school lunch room and, while out of school, they shoot movies together – clever reinterpretations/parodies of cinema classics.
Tranquillity is interrupted when Greg’s mother forces him to make contact with a Jewish classmate of his, Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who was recently diagnosed with leukaemia. Greg is typically reprehensive about the idea, and frankly so is Rachel, but through his home movies a connection – a non romantic relationship – develops.
I’ll leave the plot with that. As I said, it’s the how that matters, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl excels in its portrayal of the social issues facing today’s teenagers. It really is a case of survival of the fittest, and even they cannot be expected to survive without some mental scars. Given the way the movie portrays parents (to put it mildly, they’re rather peculiar), one can see the theme extended way further than the realms of the high school. Between some touching moments and fine acting all around, the result is fine drama.
Overall: A simple story told well, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl deserves between 3 and 3.5 crabs out of 5.