“Have you seen me in a tux? Its like when they make a dog wear human clothes!”
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is smart, delicate and real without gloating in it smartness or shouting its message.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl tells of the mundanity of illness and almost overlooks the severity of the situation for most of the picture. This overlooking reflects the non-committal attitude of protagonist Greg, who refuses to show true emotion or express true feeling to anyone. Greg is incapable of committing to anything as the situation he has concocted in his head acts as a barrier between himslef and his discomfort in his own skin. Earl is the direct anti-thesis of Greg; he is his own man, knows what he wants, what he likes and who he wants to be. The relationship between the two is a joy and develops remarkably as Rachel enters the picture. Rachel’s infectious charm forces you to care about her instantly, making the rest of the film harder to watch and ever more rewarding.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the pinnacle of young adult film-making. The high-school setting and conflicted protagonist have all the traits of The Duff or The Fault in Our Stars but Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is without the underlying preppy feeling that holds such films back. Someone recently said that Me and Earl and the Dying Girl looked like the film The Fault in Out Stars could have been, but in all honesty, The Fault in Our Stars never had a hope of being this good.
The film is stylish and offbeat which creates a charm large enough to make you laugh and cry in equal measure. The characters are so full and vibrant, whilst the film is consciously ignorant to the expectations of the young adult market. Jesse Andrews’ screenplay actively subverts the clichéd and exhausted. The ending is soppy but fails to detract even a hint from the film’s excellence. You crave the resolution in hand whilst simultaneously straining against it. This is a very impressive emotion to illicit and comes from the superb character development and the beautiful direction.
Much has been made of the parodied movies the boys shoot. They are all of classics or the foreign masterpieces favoured by Greg’s father, and unless one is a true aficionado of foreign cinema, you won’t understand every parody. I certainly didn’t. But this isn’t as alienating as it sounds, as the films are meant to be somewhat foreign to the audience, much like Greg’s father’s exotic foods. The parodied film of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl are part this filmmaker’s ode to film-making. Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon has worked under the likes of Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and has certainly learnt to love film and how to make a loved film. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is not only a poignant, emotional drama, but also a love letter to the world of cinema.
It was hard for me to rate this film with a number of stars, but I have given most honest rating I can. If anything can be taken from this, I dreamt of talking with Greg’s Dad and his teacher (Nick Offerman and Jon Bernthal) in a scene reminiscent Gomez-Rejon’s style. As a general barometer to a film’s quality, I think that’s pretty special. Don’t take this rating lightly as Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is pretty damn perfect.
Header courtesy of nypost. Images courtesy of elle, thedissolve and dailymotion respectively.