Take The Fault In Our Stars, add a dash of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and sprinkle over the most awkwardly hilarious scenes from any episode of Modern Family or SNL that you can think of and mix it all together. The final product of all of those ingredients is Me And Earl And The Dying Girl.
The film is based on the novel of the same name written by Jesse Andrews. After being screened at the Sundace Film Festival earlier this year, the film took on a life of its own. Not only did it receive standing ovations from audiences who got the chance to view it but it also managed to snag the coveted Grand Jury Prize as well as the Audience Award. The film itself is a perfect blend of beautiful cinematic techniques, implementing the use of claymation, voiceovers and unique imagery in order to enhance an already beautiful narrative about love, friendship and the coming of age struggles any of us could easily relate to.
The film focuses on Greg Gaines played by Project X star Thomas Mann, his outspoken friend Earl played by Ronald Cyler II and Rachel Kushner who is diagnosed with Leukemia and played by Bates Motel star Olivia Cooke. Greg and his friend Earl spend their time on the outskirts of High School social circles choosing instead to spend their time in their teacher’s office watching old films and then recreating their own versions of the films, all of which are hilarious. Greg is preparing to apply to colleges and like most people in that stage of life is also trying to better comprehend his place in the world. One day his mother, played by American Horror Story Alum Connie Britton demands that he go over and spend more time with Rachel Kushner, a girl from school who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. While hesitant and unexcited about the prospect of having to take time out to do this, he agrees to go and in the process begins a friendship that will forever transform his understanding of intimacy and how he views himself.
After a hilarious interaction with Rachel’s mom Denise Kushner who is played by SNL alum Molly Shannon and spends her time drinking bottles of wine still coping with the fact that her husband left her, Greg finally begins interacting with Rachel. After spending enough time with Rachel, Greg begins to catalog their interactions and keep track of the days they spend together. As more time passes Greg begins to focus solely on bonding with Rachel, completely avoiding his school work and instead choosing to focus on watching her as she struggles with her illness and the affects it has on her physically and mentally.
Rachel instead tries to make Greg see the great qualities that he does not see in himself.
After a friend mentions the idea, Greg and Earl set out to make a film for Rachel who spends all of her time watching their old remakes. As the two struggle with high school, their own friendship and trying to come up with the perfect concept for Rachel’s film we begin to see the intense depth of these characters. We discover the power that a bond between two individuals can have on them and learn to see the beauty in the misunderstood kid, the kid who doesn’t really fit in and come away with the understanding that we all have more in common with that kid than we ever could’ve imagined.
After watching this film, I can understand why it has received so much praise and why audiences who have watched it gave it standing ovations (the same occurred after my screening ended) The film has such powerful message that it was able to not only make the audience erupt in laughter but also leave the theater so quiet that the only sounds that could be heard over the movie were the sniffling of the audience and the sounds of others wiping away their tears. Me, Earl and the Dying Girl is a must see, it is impossible to walk away from it without truly appreciating the gift that is life. I myself can’t wait for it to be released in theaters just so I can go watch it again.
Me, Earl and the Dying Girl hits theaters June 12th!