Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL: Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL is the uniquely funny, moving story of Greg (Thomas Mann), a high school senior who is trying to blend in anonymously, avoiding deeper relationships as a survival strategy for navigating the social minefield that is teenage life. He even describes his constant companion Earl (RJ Cyler), with whom he makes short film parodies of classic movies, as more of a ‘co-worker’ than a best friend. But when Greg’s mom (Connie Britton) insists he spend time with Rachel (Olivia Cooke) – a girl in his class who has just been diagnosed with cancer – he slowly discovers how worthwhile the true bonds of friendship can be.
Watching “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is like watching two different films. The first half of the movie contains a lot of juvenile humor, with two high school friends, Greg and Earl, laughing about their use of a slang term for breasts, and displaying their frustration with authority, particularly Greg’s mother, who wants him to visit a girl diagnosed with cancer. The second half of the film deals more seriously with the topic and Greg must struggle with his feelings for Rachel, the girl with Leukemia. She has become a good friend and is getting worse from the cancer, not better. She loses her hair and, when she decides to stop the treatments and to accept her fate, Greg becomes angry with her and they fight.
The movie contains some simple but profound moments. Rachel’s mother is single, her husband having abandoned her. She has the fear of being alone if Rachel dies and she states that a parent does everything in their power to protect their child, but one day “You realize you can’t protect them all the time.” A theme of the film is that a person’s life continues to unfold even after they die. One of Greg’s teachers mentions this, having learned more about his father’s life after he died. “The life continues to unfold” he tells Greg.
Despite the juvenile humor, there are some legitimately funny moments sprinkled in along with the angst the teens go through in the story; however, due to strong language and sexual comments, in addition to drug use, we cannot award the movie our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.