Me and Early and the Dying Girl
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a coming of age comedy drama written by Jesse Andrews based on his own novel, and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. On paper, the film has all the potential to be a total flop. Thankfully, the admittedly cliché boy-meets-girl storyline is salvaged by smart writing and perfect casting.
17-year-old Greg (Thomas Mann) has managed to navigate high school relatively unscathed, establishing himself as a “floater”, and avoiding the obligations that accompany friendship. His closest companion, Earl (RJ Cyler), he cautiously refers to as his ‘co-worker’, and the two spend their days filming charmingly awful parodies of classic cinema. Greg is reluctantly dragged from his comfort zone when his mother assigns him the burden of befriending Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate who has been recently diagnosed with leukemia.
The chemistry between Mann and Cooke injects the film with a healthy dose of vitality which makes it both piercingly human and utterly likeable. In her portrayal of Rachel, Cooke challenges her co-star’s character, and ends up teaching the self-absorbed teen an invaluable lesson in friendship. Cue tears.
But in all seriousness, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl establishes itself as a touching story, without becoming overly-sentimental or tragic. It’s an honest, witty and ambitiously funny portrait of one of life’s most poignant trials - loss.