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Movie Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

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This story begins about 1 year ago when a small indie project came to Pittsburgh and started filming all over town. Fast forward 6 months and that same project is dominating the Sundance Film Festival. People start talking, including some close friends who had seen it in January, and Me & Earl becomes my indie-pick of the year. Some hometown lovin’ mixed in with a great script, perfect cast, and beautiful cinematography.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl stars Thomas Mann as Greg Gaines, an awkward high school senior who spends most of his time with Earl (RJ Cyler), his best friend/colleague, making small, self-proclaimed terrible films. After learning one of his classmates, Rachel (played brilliantly by Olivia Cooke), has been diagnosed with leukemia, Greg reluctantly develops a friendship with her that blossoms into something much deeper than reluctance. While Greg and Earl’s movies make Rachel’s treatment more manageable, they hustle to make her one of her own.
I had extremely high hopes for this one, and, ironically, that was a bit of relief. In recent months I had only anticipated Mad Max: Fury Road and Whiplash as much as this and that turned out great, so maybe I just know how to pick ’em.

First of all, this movie is perfectly cast. Perfect…Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal…perfect. Olivia Cooke is outstanding and Thomas Mann and RJ Cyler are brilliant. Offerman is great in everything, along with Britton and Shannon, and Bernthal is becoming one of my favorite, and most talented, B-level actors alive.

Based on the book of the same name, Me and Earl is adapted for the screen by the book’s author, Jesse Andrews (Hey 50 Shades of Grey, are you paying attention? There’s a way to do that and make it not suck). Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Me and Earl is beautifully shot and tells a coming-of-age story that captures all ages.

Mad Max is no longer the undefeated champion of 2015.

Scale:
9/10

By Ryan LaBarbera