Odeon’s Latest screen Unscreen event featured an incredible new film from director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon who has also worked on films such as Argo and State of Play. Me & Earl & The Dying Girl is the story of High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl. Greg finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.
Countless film and TV shows have attempted to cover such a challenging topic but it is quite rare to see a piece of media portray it as well as this film does. Greg (Thomas Mann) Earl (RJ Cyler) and Rachel (Olivia Cooke) make up the trio but really it is Greg his interactions with Rachel (The Dying Girl) and the world around him that is the main focus of the film. There is a lot more to it than that but I don’t want to give away to much of the film before you see it.
Right from the start you know the direction that this film is heading but that is not a bad thing because like most good films it is the journey and not the destination that is important. The story starts with Greg who has managed to form a relationship with every social group while not really being committed to any one of them. However this all changes when his mum (Connie Britton) forces him to spend time with Rachel who had recently been diagnosed with leukaemia.
Greg doesn’t really do friends but it is the friendship that develops between himself and Rachel as well as the films that he creates with Earl that drives the narrative. We as the audience only get to see small segments of the short parody films but I am sure that I am not the only one who would want to see more of them, I mean with titles such as Eyes Wide Butt and Senior Citizen Cane, wouldn’t you?
You really do believe that these people would be friends and at no point does it feel forced or does any scene feel unnecessary. Greg juggles school work, changes to his social situation all while trying to make a film for Rachel who condition slowly worsens throughout this films 105 min runtime. The pacing of this film works well in conjunction with the excellent performances on screen to create a fully realised world that also serves to heighten the tragedy of a doomed friendship. Me & Earl & The Dying Girl goes to great lengths to show how people deal with something like this but in a way that is believable and real.
Two other characters that are also worth mentioning are Mr. McCarthy (Jon Bernthal) and Greg’s dad (Nick Offerman) as they both helped advance the plot and support the main characters, providing context and a deeper understanding of the world in which the film is set. Many people will know Nick Offerman from his role as Ron Swanson in the hit TV series Parks and Recreation and you can certainly see some resemblance to that character in this film. Greg’s dad is a weird and wonderful character, Mr. McCarty is a brilliant down to earth teacher and both work brilliantly alongside the main cast.
Olivia Cooke is an incredible actress and Rachel is a particularly brilliant character and works well alongside Greg and earl in this film. Her character goes through a remarkable physical and mental journey over the course of the film and challenges not only her own sense of self but that of the other characters around her. She makes the part her own and I for one am looking forward to seeing more from her in the future.
Me & Earl & The Dying Girl is not a film that I expected to see at Odeon’s Screen Unscreen event but I am so glad that I actually got the opportunity to see it. The film features an incredible cast, an amazing script and a phenomenal story. I can’t recommend this film enough so whatever you are thinking of seeing this September, make sure this is one of the ones you see. To top of a fantastic evening at the cinema we got given these cool postcards which I thought was a nice touch.