Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)


Comedy | Drama


Alfonso Gomez-Rejon




Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, RJ Cyler, Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal, Connie Britton, Chelsea T. Zhang, Katherine C. Hughes, Natalie Marchelletta, Matt Bennett, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Hugh Jackman, Gavin Dietz, Edward DeBruce III


Seventeen-year-old Greg (Thomas Mann) has managed to become part of every social group at his Pittsburgh high school without having any friends, but his life changes when his mother (Connie Britton) forces him to befriend Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a girl he hasn't spoken to since kindergarten, who has leukemia.


Before saying anything else, it had to be mentioned that this is nothing like "The Fault in Our Stars". This is not a romance, and this is not about dealing with cancer, so stop thinking about that film, because it would be a blasphemy to even compare the two pictures. That being made clear, let's jump into the real deal.

A soulful take on the coming-of-age genre, "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" is a subtle and delightful portrait of the birth and development of a beautiful, unfortunately doomed friendship.

That's right, the main theme of the film is not the adolescent terminal illness which has now become a firm element in coming-of-age stories in both literary and cinematic field - even though it has a central role in this story -, but the friendship between Greg, an awkward guy who created an emotional barrier towards everyone to avoid suffering, and is afraid to grow up and face the responsibilities that the adult world would imply, and Rachel, a girl who is the portrait of maturity, and has rationally accepted her terrible fate.

The great and clever screenplay by Jesse Andrews, author of the novel this film is adapted from, deals with sickness in a wonderful and human way. Whether through comedy, wit or drama, Andrews made a remarkable story.

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who is known for his work on American Horror Story and was a personal assistant to Martin Scorsese and Alejandro Iñárritu, shows his talent with beautiful stop-motion animation, and a great camera work, which resemble the symmetrical precision of Wes Anderson. The cinematography is gorgeous and gives the story so much life.

Along with a beautiful soundtrack, the film also features a young and promising cast. Thomas Mann does a great job as Greg; his detached performance is spot-on! However, Olivia Cooke was the biggest surprise to me. Based on her performance in "Ouija", my expectations were very low, but she gives a heart-felt performance as Rachel. R.J. Cyler also bring an excellent performance as Earl, Greg's co-worker. The supporting cast does a great job as well, especially Connie Britton, Molly Shannon and Nick Offerman. And I must mention Jon Bernthal who just proved me you can't dislike an actor because of a single role. 

Ultimately, this is a must watch for everyone, and just because there isn't a love story it doesn't mean it's not emotional. Just be careful who you watch it with, it will make you cry.

 "Dear Pittsburgh State Admissions, I'm writing on behalf of someone who gave me half a year of his life at the time when I was at my most difficult to be around. He has a very low opinion of himself, which is why I think it's necessary that you hear from someone who sees him as he actually is: A limitlessly kind, sweet, giving, and genuine person. No matter how much he would deny it. The drop in his academic performance this year is the consequence of all the time he spent with me and the time he spent making things for me and how hard that was for him. You can ask him about it, but his sort of over the top humility will probably get in the way. No one has done more to make me smile than he has. And no one ever could." - Rachel


  1. Your opening paragraph in your Opinion section is perfect! I put this movie off for ages thinking it was another Fault in our Stars and I felt awful for it in the end. I'm regretting not putting this one in my Best of 2015 now, you've reminded me how much I loved it :)
    - Allie

  2. I really enjoyed this, and you're right, it's nothing like The Fault in our Stars. The kids in this movie are so different from anyone else I've seen.

  3. I enjoyed this movie up to a point. All the film references, both overt and subtle, were really nicely executed. But like with the book, I just found Greg, apart from his love of film and filmmaking and his obvious wit, to be so totally unlikable. He's just such a little baby. I want to slap him and tell him to man up. The ending of this story, in general, needs some work. It's incredibly muted for me. But the Earl character is great (even better in the novel) as is the Rachel character. And anytime a character does an impression of Werner Herzog, I'm pretty much sold.

  4. I knew about this movie but never gave it a chance. Due to your review I am changing my judgement on this and will place it on my list to see