“I have no idea how to tell this story”
Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
This may sound like every other coming of age story, but i assure you, it is not.
Greg (Thomas Mann) is the kind of kid in your high school you didn’t know existed. Socially awkward, anxiety ridden and self loathing to a fault, preferring to remain invisible by refraining from any significant relationships with people. Greg is the outsider most of us probably were at one point or another, and he likes to keep it that way.
Enter Rachel (Olivia Cooke), the dying girl.
Rachel’s been diagnosed with leukemia, so Greg’s mom forces him to spend some time with her. It will be a “nice thing”, she says.
Of course, Greg has no desire to hang out with a stranger while Rachel has no interest in anyone’s pity. They hang out anyway to appease their parents, and end up forming an unlikely friendship that develops wonderfully in ways you might not expect.
And yes this all sounds like every single coming of age story we’ve seen, but its been gifted with terrific performances by both Mann and Cooke that lend real heart and authenticity to their characters. This is also not a manipulative tearjerker Ala “The Fault In Our Stars”, where the boy falls madly in love with a girl and ends up in a tragic romance.
Instead of diving into a bowl of generic angst, our heroines face it head on with off kilter, deadpan humor. The result is a film that feels refreshingly real, striking a fantastic balance between its hilariously off beat characters and earnest drama. Its the best Wes Anderson movie Wes Anderson never directed, and i unabashedly love it.
So I could sit here and tell you how poignant the film is, how its funny and heartfelt all at the same time. How its one of the best films of the year. But how boring would that be? I would be doing the movie a disservice by spoiling its moments. Like most films, it has to be seen to be understood.
Yes, coming of age stories are a dime a dozen these days. But every once in a while, a movie like “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” comes along to remind us how powerful and affecting movies can be. So if you haven’t already, please give this one a shot. It might just become a new favorite of yours.