It’s amazing how much a really well done drama can stay with you. Movies like Fried Green Tomatoes or Stand by Me are a couple of great examples. By making the characters dimensional, real and likable, they set you up for the big fall. Then they kick you in the gut for the bad news and even though it depresses you a little, you’d go back for it time and time again.
That’s Me & Earl & The Dying Girl.
Greg (Thomas Mann) is a nerdy high school boy who’s generally friendly with everyone without really being part of any clique. I think we all had that one guy in our school. The one with the wise cracks and limited affiliations. Earl (RJ Cyler) is his one close friend, and is a lot like him. Then, his mom finds out that Rachel, a classmate of theirs, (Olivia Cook) has cancer. In order to be nice, she makes Greg spend some time with her. He decides to bring Earl as a buffer. Of course, despite his desire to not get attached, he does.
Then comes the tear jerking.
First off, they put together such an amazing cast, if this had been a two hour shoe commercial, I would have watched it. I am a bit afraid that Oliva Cooke is getting typecast. I mean, she also plays the girl with CF on The Bates Motel. That’s pretty much Hollywood trying to tell her she looks sickly.
She’s not. From all news accounts, she’s perfectly healthy. But here’s a fun fact. She’s British.
Thomas Mann plays Greg and slips right into the roll perfectly. He also starred in a gem called Project X and the kid clearly has some range. That range is displayed in this movie as his character grows. The way he goes from distant to emotional is believable and heartbreaking.
RJ Cyler is a newb to the scene, this being one of his first movies. Even still, he’s a talent to watch out for. He isn’t just the sidekick or the comic relief. He’s a talent in his own right.
Even the voice over narration and the snappy screen titles like “Day 7 of Doomed Friendship” add something unique. These light humor moments keep the movie from being too heavy and too sentimental.
The perfect balance was struck with Me & Earl & The Dying Girl. It’s just funny enough to keep from being heartbreaking, and just heartbreaking enough to keep it from being goofy. They’ve managed to make a sentimental movie and left out the sap.
It was a huge hit at the Sundance Film Festival and I imagine that this limited release will be again when rolled out nationwide. It’s completely worth the watch and is a classic that’s destined to become a sleeper hit.
It’s not often that a low budget indie film can get this kind of reaction. It was a hit at the festival, just as it will be a hit with audiences in a summer packed with adrenaline filled blockbusters. It’s a great break from the monotony and a movie that will stay with you.
WE GAVE IT: 5 STARS! Watch the Official Trailer and See the Official Movie Poster below