After Sundance hit this last year, the buzz surrounding this film hit sites everywhere. I never expected that when DIFF made its announcement for its cinematic line-up, that Me and Earl and the Dying Girl would be a choice. That said, once I got word that it would be showing, I made it a priority to attend the screening. Renegades, let me just say, my expectations were far exceeded and then some. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is by far the most emotionally engaging movie since Short Term 12, and is almost guaranteed to make my year-end list by the time 2015 wraps.
The film focuses on Greg, who is a high school filmmaker finishing out his last days of school. Greg and his buddy (or co-worker) Earl spend their bored days making ridiculous adaptations of classic films, such as a Clockwork Orange remade into… A Sockwork Orange. Some of these re-imaginings are probably the funniest moments of the film. Greg comes home one day to learn that his neighbor, and classmate Rachel has cancer. Against his own personal wishes, his mother annoys him to go and spend time with her. So, to get her off his back, he does. What Greg doesn’t expect though is Rachel is actually a sweet and fun person to hang out with. The two begin a charming and unlikely friendship that neither of them prepared for.
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon isn’t exactly new to the director’s chair but his experience with features is still fresh. He is mostly known for some television work such as American Horror Story and a handful of episodes of Glee. This film however is almost guaranteed to shoot him up to the most wanted list before 2016. Very few directors break out the television medium so effortlessly and make a film this good. Seriously, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is a confident voice and has a great career ahead of him.
Besides the direction, the performances are nothing short of outstanding. Thomas Mann, who plays Greg will be talked about a lot towards the Oscar season. He goes from handling strong comedic beats to overwhelmingly dramatic ones and sells the hell out of every moment. I cannot see this kid not being sought out for more projects after the June 12th release. The show stealer though is RJ Cyler who plays Earl. This is Cyler’s firs major film and he chewed up every second like he’s been acting for years. It’s easy to tell this kid had a blast making this movie.
All techs aside, let me just get real here. I loved this movie. It’s made with such heart and with great care for its characters. Last time I had an experience that moved me I found myself shedding tears in Short Term 12. This didn’t have me shedding them, I was feeling nine thousand emotions and sobbing before the credits rolled. It’s just such a fantastic story and is dying to be seen by many. I am going to call it right now, but Me and Earl and the Dying Girl will gain a nomination for Best Picture. If it doesn’t then I want to see the movie the academy claims deserves the nomination over this one. That said, we still have a long year ahead of us!
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl hits theaters June 12th and I urge everyone to see it!