Movie review – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Do you like surprises?

I’m not usually a fan, especially after luring Gill to a party at the local pub for her 50th birthday, and being lambasted because she had her walking boots on, was wearing entirely the wrong outfit and hadn’t washed her hair.

But we went to our second Screen Unseen movie surprise last night, at the Odeon in Guildford, and lucked out. Again.

The title – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – sort of sums up this film. Cool. Kooky. Offbeat. Darkly funny.

17 year old Greg has a strategy to get through High School in Anywheresville, USA. Make no friends. Avoid contact. Stay alone. Other than superficial eye contact and head nods with all the disparate school factions.

The one possible exception is Earl, with whom he creates remakes of classic old films. Death in Tennis. Eyes Wide Butt. Senior Citizen Kane. The Turd Man. You get the idea….

But Earl is just a co-worker. Greg’s rules don’t allow him to be called a friend.

His survival strategy is working. Until his Mum forces him to go and visit Rachel, a classmate who has leukemia.

Greg and Rachel form an unlikely friendship, in an awkward kind of way, and it forces Greg to break a few of his rules and – reluctantly – to think a little differently about life.

The dialogue, soundtrack and characters combine to make a really interesting, thought-provoking, emotional indie movie.

Thomas Mann as Greg and Olivia Cooke as Rachel steal the show, but a host of peripheral characters add considerable lustre. Nick Offerman plays Greg’s highly alternative Dad. Connie Britton is Rachel’s sad Mum, and Jon Bernthal is Mr. McCarthy, the coolest teacher you could ever want to teach you.

If you like intelligent, non-conforming independent movie-making, I reckon you’ll love this.

And I hope I haven’t spoilt any surprises.

 

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