Thursday, 27 August 2015

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

I saw this at a free preview screening courtesy of those nice people at Show Film First. Do go and see it - it will make you laugh ..... and cry.

Set in a Pittsburgh senior high school the central character is Greg who tells the story. He is gangly, lacking self respect and tries to fit in without being noticed. Hormones are coursing through his veins, relationships are a struggle and the route to individuation seems blocked by his parents at every turn. So, this is a coming of age movie and from the title it makes it clear that it also explores what makes relationships and life worthwhile in the face of impending death.

This film has a familiar plot and the narrative arc is easy to guess. A story like this with three teenagers in the lead could easily fall into usual pitfalls. This is a clever and thoughtful film which uses humour well. Many of the gags are visual and they come thick and fast - check out the dog's kahunas!

The film has many tender and poignant moments and always centres on the characters who grow and develop throughout the film. For many years Greg (Thomas Mann) has been making movies with his 'co-worker' Earl (RJ Cyler) which parody classic movies. This theme runs throughout the film and different titles come into play at different points of the story. This is cleverly done and contributes to making this a great movie.

The characters are interesting and engaging and the acting is very good - RJ Cyler could become the next Will Smith! Olivia Cooke plays Rachel who is the titular dying girl and delivers an amazingly nuanced and energised performance.

This is a generous film that will reward anyone who watches it. It won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic and the Audience Award for U.S. Drama at the Sundance festival - a worthy winner which was snapped up for distribution by Fox Searchlight and I'm sure they'll make money on this one in both the cinema and through after sales. When it hits the cinemas please do go and see it - you won't be sorry. I'll give it 8/10.

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