By Shirl Hollenberg
IMG_0457Smart writing and expert acting a winning combination. Talk about perfect counter programming to the traditional summer popcorn mindless entertainment Hollywood typically plies us with. Instead take a chance on a “smaller” film that no less is full of heart. Clearly film festival goers were not wrong when they heaped waves of Praise on Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Count me among the converts. Any film that has cancer as its subject matter can be iffy. Solid direction and two principal characters you can surely relate to in a positive way make this Fox Searchlight Pictures drama a sure bet to be heard loud and clear come next spring’s Oscar ceremony. So celebrate early this joy-filled triumph at fortunate enough Cineplex Odeon theatres out and about B.C. Including the International Village Cinemas
Told in a semi-narrative style the “me” in the title refers to one Greg. Nerdy with a capital N and facing a host of social and personal problems Thomas Mann smokes fire as the misunderstood grade 12 misfit/outcast. Good buddy Earl is the exact opposite of this white boy and portrayed with gusto as a slick and hip ghetto dweller by RJ Cyler. For kicks the pair like making home movies. This love of cinema turns into a major bone of contention when a certain girl descends on their lives in a rather unpredictable way,
Getting fixed up on a date is awkward at the best of times. Throw in an illness or two and things can be downright depressing. Rachel is the fall girl whose bout with leukaemia casts a long shadow on Greg and Earl along with their families and circle of friends. Through all the pain Olivia Cooke comes across brilliantly as a girl who just wants to live her life out to the fullest. And that up and down friendship the pair embark upon, rife with external influences, is miraculously recounted on film.
Honest and touching with impeccable performances means Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is easily one of the best film experiences of the year and a delight to take in.
Me and Earl and The Dying Girl (PG) ****