So Far, 2015 has been quite a decent year for movies. From interesting espionage, thrillers such as Kingsman to horror/thrillers such as It Follows and amazing visual movies such as Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian. An under discussed, but not underrated, film of this year was in fact Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is based off a novel, of the same title, written by Jesse Andrews. The film does not deviate far from the parameters of the book but adds some extra components to better suit a cinematic story.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is about a girl named Rachel with cancer (the dying girl) and how her ex-friend, who has been befriended once again, cheers her up through his homemade movies he makes with his friend Earl. In both the novel and film, protagonist Greg informs the audience that this is not a love story between him and Rachael (it really was not). Me and Early and The Dying Girl does tug at your heart strings but not too heavily. You’ll like the relationship that Greg and Racheal form throughout the story and will probably sob a bit when Racheal falls into a coma when Greg shows her a movie that he made for her. This movie is not like TFIOS at all. It can be emotional but does not stress the emotional part of the story too much. The theme, which is more or less hidden, is the power of movies.
As previously said, Greg and Earl create homemade movies with each other but they are complete rip-offs of cinematic classics. Some movies they make are either their pitch of these classics or sequels such as a movie they made called 2002 (a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey). Back to the point. Greg shares these movies with Rachael with hopes that they’ll cheer her up, which they prove to do. Greg knows that his movies are terrible but Rachael loves them despite their poor quality for the reason that they make them happy. Rachel’s initial response to Greg’s films changed the way that I looked at movies forever.
Racheal shows that the best part of film, as an industry, is the boost of moral it can bring to the individual. She showed how the smallest, most simplistic of movies, such as Greg’s, can have the largest of effects on the individual. How a film doesn’t have to have the best actors, outstanding screenplays, best directors, incredible visuals, to be amazing. Indeed cinephiles like me are obsessed with said movies, but Rachael made me downgrade my criteria for movies a bit. Me and Early and the Dying Girl, to some may seem “okay” if compared to other YA dramas, but in fact it is just as strong of film as they are or even better. Unlike other YA dramas Me and Earl’s story was a clever reflection of the movie itself. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is not a tear jerker like the Fault in Our Stars or the Perks of Being a Wallflower, per se. This is was not a teen heartthrob, it was very simplistic and fun (like Greg’s films) yet after watching it you’ll probably feel more elated than just before you watched the film (as Rachael did with Greg’s movies). This correlation between Greg’s film and the movie itself is what made this such a strong, unique story.
I really loved this movie because it was, hopefully, an eye-opener to movie goers and film critiques. A movie doesn’t need to be harshly reviewed or reputed based on hundreds of criteria to be considered decent or even amazing (in some cases they still should). It can be as simplistic and terrible such as Greg’s Apocalypse Later but still be a good film. If you approach the film expecting for it to be emotional or a love story, you probably won’t enjoy it. But if viewed with an open-mind, this should be a memorable story for you.
I would suggest this film to anyone and I’ll ask for you to look for the interesting correlation between the story and the movie itself. Hopefully it will change your views on the roles of movies as it did for me. Besides that, the movie had quite unique visuals and excellent directing. It won the Audience and Grand Jury awards at the Sundance Film Festival, which was well deserved, and is a completely new, as well as questioning, take at YA dramas.