Quirky offering a really great yarn

Every now and then a film will come along that is precocious, unashamedly self-aware and a little too cool for school.

 

ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Cast: Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, Ronald Cyler II, Jon Bernthal, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon
Rating: (M)  
Four and a half stars (out of five)

 

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is one such film.

It is also a really great yarn with a top-notch cast and shrewd cinematography.

Greg (Thomas Mann) is an awkward teenage mess of self-loathing and witty societal observations.

As an only child, Greg is forced by his domineering mum to befriend a girl from school who has been diagnosed with leukaemia.

Reluctantly, he pops around to Rachel's (Olivia Cooke) house where her enthusiasm for a newfound friend is a little lacking, to say the least.

In a cast of dysfunctional characters, including a tattooed history teacher (Jon Bernthal) and Rachel's perennially sozzled mum Denise (Molly Shannon), Greg's best friend and partner in B-grade movie-making Earl (Ronald Cyler II) steals the show.

Greg (and Earl) fill in their spare time filming bizarre adaptations of classics from cinema history.

These films help build the bond Greg forms with Rachel and as her condition deteriorates she finds a ray of light in their wacky DVDs.

You are never really sure whether you can trust Greg's version of events and that is what makes Me and Earl and the Dying Girl so enjoyable.

Mann's very amusing performance, nutty caricatures and a great script with just the right amount of humour, pathos and emotion make this a great addition to the coming-of-age oeuvre.

Mark Orton 

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