Facebook Twitter

A few lessons from ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’

SHARE A few lessons from ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and based off of the novel by Jesse Andrews, "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” claimed the grand jury prize and audience award from the Sundance Film Festival. A poignant, powerful, and endearing statement about the unpredictability of life, it's a movie that unfolds elegantly and with purpose, but should be viewed with caution.

Perhaps the average American teenager might define high school as heaven. For them, the high school years could mean anything from eating and breathing football to earning AP scores that land them full-ride scholarships for college.

On the other hand, some might define high school as a time of suffering and better left buried and forgotten.

For Greg (Thomas Mann) in "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl," high school is a place of limbo. While he may have to live through it, that doesn't mean he has to participate in it. Survival is key, though, so Greg knows every group there is to know by his senior year — the drama geeks, the Jewish girls, the drug addicts, the loners — and yet he belongs to no one. Not even his "co-worker," Earl, has earned the title of "friend" in his book.

So, the question is, what happens when people start telling Greg that they care about him?

True to Greg's statement, "this isn't a touching romantic story." This is a story about how he makes movies and how his life was ruined when a girl that he knew got leukemia. However, Greg doesn't mention leukemia to get sympathy. He mentions it because it is a part of his life, because it shaped him, and because it deserves to be documented.

Despite its title, "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" is anything but a downer. Thomas Mann is brilliant in his role, acting like a true teenage boy who cheers up the girl with leukemia because he was told to. A natural comedian, Mann invites the audience to laugh at him, and to do so often.

The supporting characters Earl (RJ Cyler) and Rachel (Olivia Cooke) are also well cast and become old friends of both Greg and the audience by the end of the movie.

Not evident in the movie trailer, though, is the frequent use of profanity. Although the choice of language may accurately reflect the background and setting of the characters, it is often offensive. Sexual jokes and references to pornography are also made on occasion. While these moments are fleeting, they are reocurring. Although "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" is about teenagers, it is overall more appropriate for adults.

It was in theaters earlier this summer and is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Danielle Christensen is a senior studying English at Brigham Young University with an emphasis in creative writing. A believer of clean literature, her book reviews are on nonicebookswears.blogspot.com.