Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)1:42 PM
A Little Friendship Never Killed Anyone
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (The Town that Dreaded Sundown, American Horror Story) and stars Thomas Mann (Project X, Beautiful Creatures), RJ Cyler (Second Chances), Olivia Cooke (Ouija, The Signal) and Connie Britton (American Horror Story, American Ultra). "High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic
movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer". Will Me & Earl & The Dying Girl have the magic of The Fault in Our Stars or will it just be another sugar-coated, sad love story?
I really wanted to love this film but I find it hard to actually say I liked it. Yes, it is not the worst film of the year but it is far from being the best as well. I had heard many good things about Earl before watching so was extremely looking forward to it but my overall response is just 'meh'. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl really does have things going for it and is probably The Fault in Our Stars for indie movie lovers. However, although I love a good indie, this just felt quite amateur rather than indie.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is perfectly watchable and there isn't really anything horrible about it. However, some of the camera choices really made me feel dizzy and there was so much movement - I knew this story was going to be moving but not literally! I also found some scenes quite uncomfortable to watch as I felt the comedy was so dark that it may be offensive to people who actually have cancer or any other illness - there is a scene where the two characters imitate having a fit which I thought was just crossing the line. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl jumps either side of the line of what is appropriate for this type of film - I didn't find some of its jokes appropriate at all. I even think the name of the film/book is a little inappropriate - yes, I have a sense of humour but how emotional this film wants to be, it shouldn't have a name like this. I would say that this film is rewatchable if it was on TV but I wouldn't invest in the DVD when it is released. The film also has some really weird moments like Hugh Jackman speaking to Grey (RANDOM!) and Panda's popping up everywhere - it takes a while for the latter to be explained/understood by the audience.
The acting for the film is pretty good - I have to say, the performances are all quite wobbly at times but they are also amazing at times. I thought that Thomas Mann didn't have anywhere as much charm as Ansel Egort or Nat Wolff and his character was pretty unlikeable. Yes, he comes round at the end, put Rachel is right, he is basically forced to do everything. RJ Cyler was ok but I found that his character was quite irrelevant and not worthy enough to be included in the title. At the start of the film, I thought I was going to have major problems with Olivia Cooke as she came across very moody and Bella Swan like. However, she was probably the best thing about this film and did help emotion and likability to be created. Connie Britton was a lot better than she was in American Ultra but because her role was so small, she wasn't given a huge chance to shine.
So I've commented on this a little before but I found the main character Greg very unlikeable - he didn't really have much going for him until the end. I was also really annoyed how he lied to the audience the whole way through the movie but I won't spoil it for you. However, there were some jokes that were funny and the character we are meant to feel sympathy for was very likeable. The film wasn't as sad/emotional/depressing as I thought it would be but I feel that it was intended to be much more emotional than I found it. I enjoy dry humour and dark humour, but I think this film just took it a little too far.
So the look of the film was absolutely beautiful and some really interesting camera choices were made all the way through the film - it definitely wasn't intended to be a mainstream hit. However, the camera did a lot of zooming and flipping and tracking and other weird movements that it actually made me dizzy whilst watching. I love it when films choose interesting camera choices but sometimes there can be too many of them which disrupts the actual enjoyment of the film. The choices actually reminded me of one's from pilots of TV shows which isn't surprising considering the director has only done 1 feature film before and the rest are TV shows.
Finally, the story. I thought the story was the best thing the film had going for it. I think it was very John Green-esque which I really liked. I also liked how the relationship developed between Rachel and Greg. As a film lover, it was great to see films incorporated into it - the remakes the two boys created were quite funny and it was really thoughtful how they make one for Rachel. I can't really fault the story as it was very good. Even though I was annoyed at being lied to, I have to say, it is nice for a film to break boundaries and literally speak to the audience telling them not always to rely on reassurance or security.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a film that wants to be good and probably would be adored by lovers of indie films. However, for me, it didn't really work due to the overuse of unique camera choices, an unlikeable main character, not enough emotion, wobbly performances and some humour that was borderline offensive. Nevertheless, the story was absolutely brilliant which makes that and Olivia Cooke's performance for the last two thirds of the film the saving graces of the movie. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is no The Fault in Our Stars but it is definitely not terrible like your general Nicholas Sparks adaption.
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