The “trailers” for this film did zilch to ignite any interest; but the actual movie is a creative, energizing work, blossoming from a fecund imagination; a compelling story told by a nerdy high school student, hiding his piercing intelligence, insecurities by relegating his peers to categories, slots unworthy of his commitment or admittance. “Greg” (realistically “uncool” depiction by Thomas Mann) and “Earl” (profoundly real portrait by R.J.Cyler) make movies, intentionally awful parodies of iconic films: “2:47PM Cowboy”, “Pooping Tom”, “A Knight to Remember”, “Sockwork Orange”, hilarious, callow, preposterous in their absurdities; protecting their social inadequacies; they are an “odd couple”, but comfortable in their quirky eccentricities.
A classmate “Rachel”, (Olivia Cook is stellar) diagnosed with cancer; Greg’s mother pressures him to befriend the beleaguered girl; their burgeoning relationship, its foibles, is the core, and where greatness flourishes in the film. Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon refuses to allow the film to slip into sickening, saccharine sensationalism; theirs is not a love story in the traditional “soapy” sense; a friendship evolves through gingerly probing their similarities, disparities; finding happiness, levity in the nadir of the bleakest days. Pivotally, the movie sings in exploring, unearthing the thoughts and feelings of a healthy, vibrant seventeen-year-old, with a life expectancy of over eighty years, versus a contemporary, facing extinction.
“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is a remarkable, contemplative, unique excavation of the human condition; grazing all, regardless of age or demographics.