Yes, I said it. Me & Earl & The Dying Girl is a wonderful piece of work that is like nothing we’ve seen before; It’s wonky satirical teenage stuff with a big heart at it’s center. It centers upon a delicate yet confusing period of Greg’s life, and how his one bond with a cancer-stricken friend shows us(and him!) so much more about life than his carefully curated world built upon the meanderings of surviving high school. Slightly childish and quirky, the centrepiece of it isn’t the formulaic sympathy drawing ‘girl with cancer’ . Neither does it feature a boy-hero who’s precocious and selfless,with dreamy eyes and a selfless heart. Whilst movies like The Fault in our stars made romance larger than life,Me & Earl &The dying girl spotlights a charming and provocative teenage generational piece with a style that distinguishes itself from movies of its ilk.Greg’s perspective, imperfect and humourous and unique, is a telling of the movie’s zany approach. This isn’t simply a paper movie made from paper scripts from paper directors wanting only to make mainstream teenage flicks. Sounds like I caught the movie parody effect too.
Me & Earl & The dying girl finds an odd place in both style and substance. We hear Greg, who sounds so impassive and nonchalant from the moment he begins to speak, tell us that he ‘killed’ someone over the summer. Someone actually died. And this guy doesn’t seem, not even in the slightest hint, perturbed? This actually caught me off-guard and gave me a foretaste of this film’s outre tone. Adding to this, humour is a running theme from start to finish. At times it is seamless but Gomez-Rejon uses it abruptly to great sporadic effect i.e. The image of the mountain elk stomping on a helpless miniature sized Greg as a metaphor for being strung along by a highschool hottie. But what I love most is the oustanding acting talent from the trio who’s little shifts and nuance in dialogue and mood are always spontaneous.
The strength of the film is an understated one but it brings something raw to the screen. When Earl says this with an almost bittersweet comedic quality, ‘Dude’s(Greg’s) weird-ass dad don’t socialize with anybody ‘cept the cat. So that’s a role model ain’t got no friends. Bottom line, dude’s terrified of callin’ somebody his friend…’, we can’t help but chuckle even though it’s a seriousness underscores the humour at every turn.As this double edged tone wielded its influence on screen, it gave the movie a more complete and genuine feel,a more realistic one,that fueled my interest as the movie ran its course. For the first time, I did not expect the ending. And I loved it.
But don’t take this to be some sort of uplifting expression of maturity. Moments aren’t sugar coated,not even in the least bit by any false joy and cheer. Greg isn’t the type to change his life completely. Rachel might be inspiring Greg to change,but she isn’t all that strong herself. Rachel’s mom seems like that middle-aged housewife with a fun-loving spirit, but that belies the pain she rarely shows. Me & Earl & The Dying Girl so brilliantly proves that sometimes by doing less, one is able to show more. Instead of trying to sensationalize and romanticize teenage life,one need only to re-enact life as it is on screen.Let the quirks and idosyncracies of the characters thrive, and you get a heck of a film.
Rating: 10/10 This is my first ten ever 🙂