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Me, Earl And The Dying Girl Review

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Fresh off a tremendous run at Sundance where it scooped both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, Me, Earl And The Dying Girl manages to triumph where movies like How I Live Now and The Fault In Our Stars flounder.

It's the story of Greg and Earl, best friends and socially awkward teenagers who just want to skate through school under the radar, while indulging in their passion for making home movies. Their lives get thrown upside down though when Greg befriends Rachel, a girl dealing with leukemia and the two friends find themselves putting together a movie just for her, hopefully before Rachel runs out of time.


What separates this from other recent films that deal with themes of adolescence and death is that Me, Earl And The Dying Girl keeps the focus on the three leads and how they each deal with life. Its a marvellous and quirky story, completely anchored by the young actors it revolves around. Greg, Earl and Rachel are all dealing with Rachel's health in their own ways, and harboring individual fears and anxieties about life and death and everything in between.

Brilliantly executed by director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, it's packed full of obscure movie trivia and loving nods to indie and arthouse favourites. Any attempt at a forced romance or soppy soundtrack have been scrapped here and replaced with real characters; teenagers that are unsure of themselves, angry and struggling to cope with something that's bigger than them. The characters grow slowly and steadily throughout, rather than some sweeping third act transformation and the whole cast share an easy chemistry that makes it all feel more real, more natural.


Whilst never shying away from the weighty subject matter at it's core, there's still plenty of fun to be had and the home movies provide much needed emotional escapism from Rachel's situation. It's a credit to the filmmakers and the writers that Rachel never opts for overt sympathy for her situation, but through the affection that her friends show her, and the raw, honest performance of Olivia Cooke, the audience is completely won over, and ends up fighting her battle alongside her.

Me, Earl And The Dying Girl is the breakout indie hit of the year and deservedly so. Eschewing regular YA conventions and avoiding the pitfalls of a just another schmaltzy, boring teen movie, it is elevated by a story packed with wonderful touches and enough knowing detail to keep any film geek happy. Touching, daring and overwhelmingly good natured, its a fantastic example of how competent and confident filmmaking can overcome most any obstacle...much like the very best of friendships can.



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The Movie Bit: Me, Earl And The Dying Girl Review
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