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What to know: A Movie Which Puts Your Emotions to the Test.
Recommended age 12-18
105 minutes
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ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL cover image Click to play video trailer
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a brilliant new coming of age film that follows coworkers Greg and Earl through their senior year of high school. Their seemingly quiet and low key lives are altered forever after befriending a classmate who has been diagnosed with cancer. In this new age masterpiece, Greg, Earl and Rachel must navigate through the treacherous territories of high school and growing up while dealing with Rachel's illness.

This film is beautiful, truly a must see for not only teens, but adults as well. It is so refreshing. It's very rare that I find a movie that depicts what it's like to be a teenager and grow up in this day and age with such honesty and genuine emotion. The movie is narrated by Greg, played by Thomas Mann, with his internal dialogue. I resonated with that so much. This is not your typical high school, coming of age movie. This is a raw, real film that will move just about anyone.

Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and cinematographer Chung Hoon-Chung do an extraordinary job with the visuals of this film and creating characters out of the locations and sets. The unique and creative stance taken with the shot sequences and camera angles is fascinating. There are many scenes that are one long continuous shot or filled with unique zooming and panning techniques. Every shot is captivating and draws you deeper into the film, making every aspect of the movie flow seamlessly and take on a personality of its own.

In this movie, Greg and Earl occupy most of their time by making parodies of classic and foreign films. In many scenes, we get to watch a few clips from their homemade movies and it is very interesting to see all of the different styles and filmmaking tactics they use. They experiment with puppetry, stop motion, live action and many other film styles. It is so cool to see all of these different techniques in one movie, making Me and Earl and the Dying Girl feel like a true ode to cinema.

The heavy subject matter of cancer, life and death is balanced by brilliant humor that will leave you laughing out loud. But, this film is definitely not a comedy. I found myself crying on multiple occasions. This film really makes me think about my life and the people that are in it. I think one of the best things about film is when it makes you think long after the credits have stopped rolling. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is one of those gems of a film that really leaves you asking questions and delving into your thoughts.

It's difficult to pick my favorite character because the cast is so studded with insanely talented individuals. The three main characters - Greg, played by Thomas Mann, Earl, played by RJ Cyler and Rachel played by Olivia Cooke, all work together so flawlessly. Watching their relationship grow and develop over the course of the film is wonderful. Thomas Mann is an amazing actor and this film really shows off his talent. In most of his feature films he plays the goofy awkward teen and it's never much of a serious character, but in this film you are able to see the variety he brings to the screen. I am a huge fan of Olivia Cooke, she stars in Bates Motel and The Signal which is one of my favorite movies, watching her in this very challenging roll is phenomenal. Her character development over the course of the film is so moving. She deals with her illness in such a raw and real way while gracefully accepting what she cannot change. This is RJ Cylers' first feature film and he does a wonderful job. His character Earl provides quite a bit of comedic relief while also staying very real and grounded. Although he's not one to talk up a storm, when he does speak he often delivers a powerful message. There are so many amazing supporting actors in this film that really tie everything together, but it would take me forever to go over all of them so I'll move on.

I can't say I have a favorite scene because as I said before, every shot and every scene is captivating. There isn't a single moment when I am uninterested in what I am seeing. The brilliant use of color, lighting, movement and setting to convey emotion is truly remarkable and should be inspiration for filmmakers everywhere.

This film does feature a bit of mature language since it is centered around high schoolers who are not always known to have the cleanest mouths, but I don't think the profanity is gratuitous or unnecessary. It keeps the film very real. This movie is heavy because of the topics of illness and death. It definitely brought most of the audience to tears, myself included. So be prepared to have your heart strings pulled. I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 and highly suggest that adults watch it as well because I believe that people of many age groups can relate to the film and find it enjoyable.

I give Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 5 out of 5 stars, so make sure you check it out in theaters this summer!

Reviewed by Raven D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17.

First off, in my approximate ten years of watching movies, I have never seen a movie that was so emotionally investing. Between the comedy and the incredible ending, director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon does an incredible job in incorporating such a serious subject matter into a movie that is fun and entertaining. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a coming-of-age, PG-13 movie that tackles the serious subject of a young girl being diagnosed with leukemia by making it a distant part of the movie. The film centers around Greg Gaines, played by Thomas Mann, a lonely teenager who is forced to spend more time with his acquaintance Rachel Kushner, played by Olivia Cooke, because she has been diagnosed with leukemia. Greg and his friend Earl, played by Ronald Cyler II, tries to bring some light into her life throughout the course of the film.

I applaud the film for its great cinematography and use of different shots to portray certain feelings and emotions throughout the movie. I was engaged throughout the whole movie because of the great audio and music that is used. I was greatly intrigued by the great chemistry between all of the main actors. Lastly, as a 17-year old young man, I thoroughly enjoyed the great and raw comedy that is presented. The director could have gone a completely different way with the movie and I greatly appreciate the fact that Alfonso and the people working with him "stuck to their guns" to create a refreshingly real and raw movie that I loved in every way.

On a personal note, I loved how real the movie was. There are certain plot holes in movies that I will notice and say, "What happened to this?" or "What about this?" For example, I asked myself, "What about their homework? Do they do any homework?" Surely enough, my question was answered in the matter of a minute and I love and appreciate that aspect of the film. As far as the writing goes, Jesse Andrews and his crew have made a script with incredibly funny jokes and great back-and-forth dialogue.

In conclusion, the only thing negative I could gather from this movie was that it starts a bit too dramatic for my tastes and is a bit too realistic. However, once you get past those parts of the movie, I believe you will definitely enjoy Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I strongly recommend not taking your children to see the film if they do not understand what leukemia is and they have a tough time grasping with death. Also, it has strong sexual humor and profanity throughout the movie. I was a bit surprised the movie was rated PG-13 because of the dialogue. In the end, I give Me and Earl and the Dying Girl a whopping 5 out of 5 stars for its incredible attention to detail, laugh-your-socks-off comedy, strong writing, and great camera work. Please take my advice, young adults and up, PLEASE watch this movie. Thanks for reading.

By Brandon Cela, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

Seventeen-year-old Greg has managed to become part of every social group at his Pittsburgh high school without having any friends, but his life changes when his mother forces him to befriend Rachel, a girl he once knew in Hebrew school who has leukemia.
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