Me and Earl and the Dying Girl flies in their face of sentimental tear-jerkers. This movie about a boy’s “doomed friendship” with a teenage cancer sufferer is original, honest and genuinely funny.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Forced to hang out with the dying girl by his mum – the “LeBron James of nagging”- Greg’s reluctant companionship opens a new door on this bulging segment of the young-adult genre. Where teen weepies Now Is Good and The Fault In Our Stars manipulated and cajoled our tears, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl works hard to become more than a straightforward sob-fest. Its integrity is moving: audiences will laugh and blubber willingly.

Earlier this year, Dazed Magazine named the film’s director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon one of “five new Wes Andersons” and, while the whimsy of Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel are reflected in Gomez-Rejon’s shot composition, light humour, warm palette and surreal stop-motion ‘bits’, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is more down-to-earth than much of Anderson’s work. It’s rooted in a truthful depiction of high-school. Greg (Thomas Mann) doesn’t like himself very much and his casual, social butterfly persona prevents anyone from getting close.

Even Greg’s filmmaking pal Earl (RJ Cyler) is kept at a distance. Their movie remakes (from Pooping Tom to Sockwork Orange) are hilariously scattered throughout, but it’s Greg’s problems making a film for ‘dying girl’ Rachel (Olivia Cooke) that reveals his confused attitude to life and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’s subtle brilliance.

 

VERDICT: ★ ★ ★ ★ 4/5

 

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 105 minutes
Images: © 2015 – Fox Searchlight
UK release date: 4 September 2015

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