Relative newcomer Thomas Mann stars as Greg Gaines, an awkward, self-depreciating floater as he deems himself, always floating around the edges of each social group, determined to get through his senior year at high school unnoticed. With only his long-time friend and fellow film maker Earl Jackson (Ronald Cyler II) as his constant companion. But Greg soon learns that his classmate Rachel Kushner (Olivia Cooke) has been diagnosed with leukaemia and is forced by his parents to befriend her. After some hesitation and caution they slowly become friends.
Often compared to The Fault in Our Stars, Me and Earl and The Dying Girl takes the less romantic road and instead uses humour to create the meaningful relationships that are portrayed on screen. The relationship between Greg and Earl was one of the highlights in the film with Earl’s bluntness combining well with Greg’s eccentricities. Though their relationship was an unusual one with Greg unable to call Earl his friend and instead calling him his colleague, Earl always believed in the talent that Greg possessed for film making and was always there to call him out on his stupidity.
I found that the use of animation was a quirky way to diffuse the tension and sadness in the film and allowed the audience to briefly see inside Greg’s crazy mind. The film also included intricate stop motion animated and live-action short films to represent Greg and Earl’s classic film parodies.
Me and Earl and The Dying Girl first started off as a book by Jesse Andrews which was published in 2012. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon the film won the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The awards are no surprise, with constant humour mixed in with tender scenes, the film deserves all the praise it can get!
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Running Time: 105 minutes
Words by Emily Facoory