Movie Review: Me Earl and the Dying Girl
Every year there's a movie that comes out of Sundance that ends up transcending into a bit of commercial success. We're not talking Jurassic World numbers or anything. That movie this year that received a ton of buzz out at Sundance was Me Earl and the Dying Girl. A coming of age story about a young guy (Greg) and his friendship with both Earl (his friend) and the dying girl (Rachel). The premise is right there in the title. It's about Greg and his relationship with his two friends and their impact on his life.
I've mentioned many times before that I love a good coming of age story and this was no different. However for as much as I liked the movie it wasn't without some issues. First off the movie tries really hard to distance itself from other movies in the genre. At times going out of its way to outright poke fun of other movies like it. And yet for all of its funny indie movie tropes it ends up staying close to the stuff it makes fun of. Which is too bad. There are so many great movies in this genre that I would have loved the movie to just fully embrace its quirky, indie vibe. Another problem I had was with Earl the titled character who's Greg best friend. The two make movies together. Sadly for whatever reason they make Earl a super stereotypical african american character with no depth whatsoever. He seems like a cool kid and yet we never really get to know him.
**The next paragraph contains major plot spoilers, you've been warned**
There was one other issue that's a giant spoiler so if you don't want to be spoiled, stop reading now. At least three times in the movie the main character Greg who also narrates much of the movie tells the audience that Rachel (the dying girl) will not die. He goes as far as to say that don't worry about her dying she won't and just enjoy the ride. Well I'm not sure why I believed that when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, but she dies. Its an emotional rollercoaster that to me felt forced. Why tell the audience she's not going to die? Did that really add anything?
**Spoilers have ended. No more spoilers from here on out**
Even with my issues I still really enjoyed the movie. I think I'm harder on Me Earl and the Dying Girl because its the type of movie that I covet. I love movies that make me feel. And this movie made me feel in spades. I don't often cry in movies but I absolutely teared up (once in laughter and once in sadness). It's a movie I'd highly recommend to anyone even with its problems. It's got a ton of heart which makes up for many of its faults.