Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

This isn't that kind of story.

Greg (Thomas Mann) is determined to make it through high school without any real attachments. He's socially awkward, he doesn't want friends, though he has one in Earl. (RJ Cyler) But instead of admitting that he just refers to him as a "colleague" since they're both film fans and make bad movies together. (an example of one of their titles is Eyes Wide Butt) One day Greg's mother forces him to go hang out with a classmate of his, Rachel (Olivia Cooke) whose recently been diagnosed with leukemia. Eventually they form the doomed friendship our title is all about.

I noticed going into this film that there were a lot of complaints about the teenagers being too precocious and that Earl is a walking stereotype. I don't think that Greg, Earl, or Rachel are stereotypes or tropes of any kind. I've been blogging about movies now for over 5 years. Some of the blogs I read are written by teenagers, or they were teenagers when I first found them. So for me, I wasn't looking at these kids and going "OMG what a bunch of hipsters" I was thinking "Okay, maybe these kids aren't too far off from some of the friends I've made online bonding over films." I wish I had that good of taste in films when I was in high school. They were a breath of fresh air.

This film manages to feel different among all the other teenage cancer stories. There's no love story here, just the friendship between Rachel and Greg, with a bit of Earl thrown in. Honestly, I wish Earl has been in it more, because he was fascinating. (And responsible for my first ugly cry face in this film) The actors were all very natural in their parts. The soundtrack was beautiful and really enhanced the scenes, especially a big one towards the end of the film. The way the film is shot is a little strange at first. It's almost like the director wanted to go for a Malick-type style, but it ended up feeling really out of focus and shaky.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "You should take this pillow, she's a naughty Italian woman" - Rachel (Olivia Cooke)

10 comments:

  1. Great review! I just did a write up of this last week. Hmmm, I don't see Earl as a walking stereotype, so yeah I agree w/ you I think all three main characters are a breath of fresh air.

    I like that there's no romance, though I think Greg did have a deep love for Rachel as a friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. There was definitely platonic love for Rachel, but I never thought it was anything more than that.

      Delete
  2. Good review! I agree with the shaky direction, and, while much of the music was good, the score was so distracting in a few parts (in a bad way). I had very high hopes, going in to this one. While it wasn't bad, I didn't enjoy its as much as I thought I would. However, I do agree that the three characters blast through stereotypes, which is kind of the entire point of Greg's character.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry you didn't like it as much as you'd hoped. I can see where the score would get distracting. I loved it, but I've seen comments online where it through people out of the moment.

      Delete
  3. I'm excited to watch this one. I've read the book and quite enjoyed it. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I think I would like the book as well. I'll have to add it to my list.

      Delete
  4. Spot on review! I agree--I wish Earl had been in the film a little more...that actor was the MVP in my book, and he caused me to crack an ugly cry face too!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! His video message to Rachel gave me the ugliest cry face.

      Delete
  5. Can't wait to check this out! The Malick reference has me even more intrigued.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really felt that way at the beginning of the film. It doesn't do it throughout, but definitely frequently enough in the first half.

      Delete

If you're reading this sentence you should probably leave a comment.