Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a fresh take on the coming-of-age story where the lives of three high school kids change in different ways when one of them is diagnosed with cancer. I know this sounds serious, and it is. But the beauty of the movie lies in the flow of it and how it walks you through this palette of emotions the trio goes through. The story itself is pretty simple: Greg (Thomas Mann) and his friend Earl (RJ Cyler) are two friends who grew up together making short films that spoofed famous movies. Greg is an escapist (he tries so hard to stay detached from social relationships that he calls Earl his co-worker), but he’s forced to spend time with his classmate Rachel (Olivia Cooke) who was recently diagnosed with cancer. The trio goes through various experiences that alter them and their perspective of life.
I could keep talking about how every element of the movie is meticulously pieced together for an amazing experience; but that would just be overkill. So let me jump into talking more about the screenplay and music. The movie is an adaption of the novel by the same name, written by Jesse Andrews. Andrews has also written the screenplay for the movie, making it an unadulterated depiction of the writer’s vision but with the appeal of a motion picture. This is something that makes the movie a great experience to watch, and easy to believe Jesse Andrews when he says “the movie turned out to be a better version of the book." Not to mention that the movie also has moments where there’s something on the screen and no conversations taking place. Moments of bliss for straight 4-5 minutes. And the music is so enthralling that you don’t realise that all that's keeping you glued to the screen is a set of images and a mellow tune. Kudos to Brian Eno.
The young cast of the movie delivers a performance that shall propel them into the world of stardom. Mann and Cooke have very strong roles that they describe as emotionally consuming and something that helped them evolve as actors. RJ Cycler has a great debut and showcases his ability to make you laugh. Along with the lead cast there are lots of familiar names like Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon and Jon Bernthal who give equally incredible performances. And then there is Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (American Horror Story), the director of the movie. The artistic finesse of Alfonso can be easily compared to any director at his creative apex.
This is a movie that must be experienced by everyone. Whether it is about a girl dying from cancer, or a boy who plays along with every group in school but belongs to none, or about making movie parodies, or simply being there for one another. It blends all of them together effortlessly into an experience that will leave you drenched in emotions.
P.S. If you still have doubts about how good the movie is: A Pittsburgh council member just declared June 16 as Jesse Andrews’ Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Day.