REVIEW: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Do not be deceived–Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is depressing. What begins as an off-beat comedy escalates slowly, but surely to a moving climax, and finally to a bittersweet ending. I don’t cry during movies, but this one made me want to cry more than The Fault in Our Stars.

Warning aside, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is an absolute must-see film.

The plot: “We follow Greg, a high school senior who is trying to blend in anonymously, avoiding deeper relationships as a survival strategy for navigating the social minefield that is teenage life.  He even describes his constant companion Earl, with whom he makes short film parodies of classic movies, as more of a ‘co-worker’ than a best friend. But when Greg’s mom insists he spend time with Rachel – a girl in his class who has just been diagnosed with cancer – he slowly discovers how worthwhile the true bonds of friendship can be.”

I was pleasantly surprised multiple times at the little eccentricities–the parents walk into Greg’s room and he frantically attempts to close his porn windows, conversations touch upon sexually assaulting fluffy pillows, strange and exotic lunches, etc. Anyone who felt awkward or different in high school can relate instantly to this film. It captures the imaginative, uncertain energy of being a senior in high school without all the banal school tropes that you’d find in something like Glee.

If nothing else, watch this film for the camera work. It’s impossible to miss the ridiculously wide angles and outrageous telescopic views and swinging camera, and it makes you feel like you’re adventuring along with our characters.

After watching the film, I wondered why we don’t see more creative approaches to camera movement and lenses. Compare Me and Earl and the Dying Girl to any Hollywood blockbuster and the shot selection of those high budget films seems so much more stale in comparison.

Finally, the acting can only be described as on-point. Each of the main characters delivers a genuine and heartfelt performance, but it’s the supporting actors that really shine. Molly Shannon plays Rachel’s mother, who copes with the sickness of her daughter with hilarity. Nick Offerman (who plays Ron Swanson in Parks and Rec) plays against type as a strange, introverted father. Lastly, Jon Bernthal (of Walking Dead Fame) plays a badass history teacher.

If you only get to watch a handful of movies this summer season, make Me and Earl and the Dying Girl one of them. The trailer is below:


Phillip Wachowiak

I am a graduate student studying physiology. In addition to science, I love to do things with cameras