Seventeen-year-old Greg has managed to become part of every social group at his Pittsburgh high school without having any friends, but his life changes when his mother forces him to befriend Rachel, a girl he once knew in Hebrew school who has leukemia.
If you’ve heard the hype about this funny, inventive and poignant movie believe it – it’s one of the best of the year so far.
I haven’t been genuinely surprised and moved by a film like this for a while. Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (The Town That Dreaded Sundown) deserves all the awards he’s been winning, including the Dramatic Grand Jury and Audience award at Sundance.
A former TV director (American Horror Story and Glee), he’s obviously picked up something from the people he’s worked under like Martin Scorsese, Nora Ephron and this year’s best picture winner Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
Alfonso constantly surprises with unique camera angles, quirky transitions and artistic flourishes, never pandering to clichés of teen movies. And that’s what makes this coming-of-age film so heartfelt; it just comes across as totally genuine.
A lot of credit must go to Jesse Andrews - who adapted his own novel for the screen -as his teen-dialogue rings true and the high school situations Greg finds himself in are realistic and hilarious. Just wait till you see Greg’s distillation of cafeteria hierarchy. But it’s the friendships between Greg and Earl, and Greg and Rachel that carry the film. and the ups and downs of their interactions will have you glued to the screen.
The young cast are all destined for great things; Thomas Mann (Greg), RJ Cyler (Earl) and Olivia Cooke (Rachel) are superb together. Mann (Project X) navigates some heavy emotional stuff with ease and Cyler does great work in his first film. But Cooke, better known for her horror roles, will give you a big case of the feels as Rachel.
But the cherries on top are the brilliant homemade movie parodies that Greg and Earl make. With wonderful posters and a few clips we’re introduced to A Sockwork Orange, The Seven Seals, The 400 Bros, Eyes Wide Butt and many more. If you’re even a little bit of a film buff you’ll be crying with laughter at some of their re-enactments. There’s 43 in all and hopefully we’ll get them all on the DVD.
What could have easily been another sentimental Fault in Our Stars, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is an inventive, hilarious and moving film that will stay with you long after the credits.
DVD Releases: 13th January 2016
Rating: M – Contains offensive language
Duration: 105 minutes
Genre: Comedy Drama
Starring: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (The Town That Dreaded Sundown)
The scenes shot in Greg's house are actually in the author's childhood house.
Olivia Cooke actually shaved her head for the role of Rachel
This is Olivia Cooke's first regular film not having to do with Sci-Fi or Horror.
The film was acquired by Fox Searchlight for $12 million dollars at The Sundance Film Festival in January 2015. This was the biggest buy in Sundance history.
The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2012 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.