Saturday, July 04, 2015

Me and Earl and The Dying Girl

     Yes, there is a dying girl but this clever new Indie film tries it's best to present an honest, unmelodramatic portrait of teen angst in a refreshing way. For the most part it succeeds although it does occasionally slip into said melodrama.

       Thomas Mann plays the "Me" in the title, a high School senior named Greg who is perfectly at home navigating his final school year staying invisible to the cliques around him. His "friend" is Earl (RJ Cyler), a black teen Greg has known since they were little kids. When Greg's mom learns of Rachel, a girl in Greg's school has been diagnosed with Leukemia, she tells Greg to befriend her, even though he barely knows her. Rachel is played by Olivia Cooke. The film also co-stars Connie Britton, Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon and Jon Bernthal as the various adults.

        Greg narrates the story with the plot separated into chapters (like the novel it is based on). The three soon become platonic friends and Greg and Earl entertain Rachel with videos of their home made movies, spoofs of Hollywood greats. These spoofs are some of the funniest scenes in the film. 

        The story remains upbeat, filled with odd ball humor and avoids, for the most part, the trappings of a typical teen comedy/drama. Greg is a quirky character that takes some time to warm up to but Earl is a likable character from the start. Their relationship with Rachel is interesting from a fresh perspective.

        "Me and Earl and The Dying Girl" deserved it's Audience Award at Sundance earlier this year. It is a funny, heartfelt film that will surprise you.

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