Film Awards: Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival
You can read this review in its entirety, but I’ll save you some time if you’re a busy person on a train or something and you’re reading this in a hurry: go see this movie. In the review below, I’m going to tell you how emotional, hilarious, heartbreaking, surprising, and fantastic this film is. I’m going to tell you that writing this review brings up nearly too many emotions about this film to continue writing. I’m going to keep my descriptions as pithy as possible to avoid the rabbit hole of feels I felt throughout and after watching this film. Go see it; blame me if you regret it.
I’m having an incredibly difficult time writing about this film; it’s so full of heart and emotion that every time I sit down to write about it I start to feel to full of the feels to continue. But, alas, I will try to trip through this because it’s worth it. Please, just go easy on me.
First and foremost, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is undeniably hilarious and quick-witted, yet feels genuine and poignant. The film captures the emotional dichotomies of teenage life while avoiding the trap of feeling trite or mocking. Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon balances injection of the normalcies of everyday life with the serious trauma of cancer treatment, facing the subject of cancer head on without taking itself too seriously. I was consistently surprised at the expertise employed that made each character feel so tangible.
For those turned off by the premise of a teenage girl contracting cancer, don’t worry so much; for the most part, the film doesn’t feel as serious as that suggests. Nick Offerman offers advice as Greg's father, though he's also a robe-clad philosophy professor whose afternoon snacks for Greg and Earl consist of squid or octopus or other oddities. The film is also interjected with scenes from the films Greg and Earl make that are parodies of classic films: we see one called Breathe Less, seemingly about a man with asthma, as a parody of the drama/romance Breathless, for example.
This film is beautiful, heartbreaking, heartwarming, funny, and genuine to a level I never expected. Go see it.