World and News Editors
When I first watched the trailer for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, the first impression I gathered was that someone had made an artsy-sundance rendition of The Fault in Our Stars. After seeing the movie, I realize that not only is the film completely different from The Fault in Our Stars, it’s a stand-alone, hilarious, and gratifying film that will have people talking the whole summer.
The film centers on Greg Gaines, a lovable, insecure high school senior who appeals to everyone yet commits to no one. The closest thing to a friend Greg allows is his “co-worker,” Earl, a hilarious, no-filter teengaer who partners with Greg to make homemade films. On his mother’s strict instruction, Greg befriends a girl named Rachel who has been diagnosed with Leukemia. Rachel and Greg launch into a whirlwind friendship that kept me laughing, crying, and smiling the whole movie through.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl maintains an upbeat tone with stop-motion animated clips, great one-liners, and Nick Offerman holding a cat. The relatable and original humor of the film pairs perfectly with the heavy topic of death that hangs throughout the story. The events and characters of the story feel extremely real and untouched by hollywood glam. Although the film does contain some sad moments that will leave you teary eyed, the ending is extremely satisfying and I, personally, loved the outcome and would not want any other. I think Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a fantastic and satisfying film and is one of the few movies that can truly capture a friendship between a boy and a girl without adding romance.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was a hit at Sundance Film Festival, winning not only the Audience Award, but also the Grand Jury Prize. Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon recalls that, “the whole week [of Sundance] continued to be very surreal, but it was one of the best weeks of my life, not only because of the reception of the film, but I felt a part of a community of filmmakers.”
The production team faced many challenges while making the movie, including that the film was to be finished in only 24 days. Therefore, the crew had to be very exacting with what was included or left out of the story, resulting in a precise film that shares exactly the right amount of detail to create a story full of unique characters and a beautiful sense of humor, without unnecessary fluff.
Additionally, due to the success of The Fault in Our Stars, the team had to make sure that their film turned out to be a story of its own. Gomez-Rejon reveals that “I knew, loosely, why we would be compared [to TFiOS] but it didn’t bother me because I was trying to make this not to be a part of a trend but to make a personal film about something that I was going through.” Me and Earl succeeds in this regard as an extremely approachable and relatable story that deals with the universal importance opening up to others and creating meaningful relationships.
The friendship that blossoms between Greg and Rachel is heart-warming and at many times truly hilarious. A pure, deep friendship between a boy and a girl is rare in today’s media, but Me and Earl pulls out with just this. Gomez-Rejon describes the theme of Me and Earl, saying, “It’s just about a deep, deep friendship and… the hope that the other person is going to accept you for who you are.” After watching the movie, viewers are left with satisfaction at the relationship that Greg and Rachel created, not disappointed by the lack of any romantic ties.