The teen tear-jerker of the year is Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, a movie about a boy named Greg, who befriends a girl who has just been diagnosed with cancer, Rachel. Refreshingly different and very indie, it’s not a typical teen movie; Rachel and Greg keep it entirely platonic, and it’s not as over dramatic or cliche as other teen movies we’ve seen of late. Rather, it is actually relatable and realistic about high school, whilst also being ironic about it, and has quite a few genuinely funny moments. Not to say it isn’t sad, though. Rachel’s battle with anger is realistic and depressing but OF COURSE she doesn’t die. At least, that’s what Greg’s voiceover keeps telling us.
Thomas Mann plays Greg, our apathetic narrator, who is a filmmaker alongside his “co-worker” Earl (RJ Cyler). He is relatable and like able, but also in desperate need of a reality check and a kick up the ass, and it’s interesting to watch his outlook change as he grows closer to Rachel. Earl is such a real teenage boy, full of testosterone and very funny. And Olivia Cooke’s Rachel is brilliant; strong, down to earth and caring, she’s very realistic about her cancer, but someone you still feel sympathy for. An entertaining supporting cast of Nick Offerman as Greg’s alternative, sociologist Dad and Molly Shannon as Rachel’s wine mum also round out the cast nicely – they are both funny but heavy when necessary.
Me and Earl is also a film-lovers dream; as filmmakers, Greg and Earl make parodies of old classics, such as Senior Citizen Kane, A Sockwork Orange and the Rad Shoes. Excerpts from some of these parodies were even made for the film. Though some of the parodies of older or foreign films may go over the heads of some moviegoers (it took me forever to realize that “Grumpy Cul-De-Sacs” was spoofing “Mean Streets”), director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon has given us some particularly punny titles to chuckle at even after the credits have rolled.
All in all, Me and Earl was a bit of a surprise. Surpassing the cutesy of the Fault In Our Stars, it is funny, serious, and dripping with sarcasm and irony, sometimes all at once, and doesn’t sugarcoat much. More than just a teen movie, it appeals to all kinds of audiences, and you’ll have all kinds of feels at the end.
And the list! Here’s my list of my five favourite parody puns in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl:
- Vere’d He Go (Vertigo)
- Breathe Less (Breathless)
- 2:48pm Cowboy (Midnight Cowboy)
- Senior Citizen Kane (Citize Kane)
- A Sockwork Orange (A Clockwork Orange)