You have been told before that you have to see a particular movie in a cinema. Normally these are visually extravagant epics with breathtaking pictures and awesome special effects. But there are smaller films too that greatly benefit being seen in the cinema. One such film is Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. The “Me” called Greg (Thomas Mann) in the film tells his story at a slower pace, but this sinking into the narrative immerses you surefootedly into an emotionally poignant and beautiful film. On your laptop or on a TV screen, it would be hard to get into such a place with all the distractions of life. A favorite in the American indie festival Sundance, this is a rare independent movie that finds its way to Cebu and needs your time.
Plot: Cancer-Weepy with a Quirky Twist
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl belongs to a specific genre, the cancer movie, The Fault in Our Stars, A Walk to Remember, and your mom’s favorite Love Story, being probably the most famous of the genre. You know then you have to bring your hankies for this one. Disgruntled teenager Greg is forced by his mom (Connie Britton) to hang out with her friend’s cancerous daughter Rachel (Olivia Cooke). Greg actually likes hanging out with Rachel and shares with her his secret passion, making corny remakes of movies with his pal Earl (RJ Cyler). The problem is that Greg does not want to get too emotionally involved with anyone, so what is he going to do as Rachel’s disease worsens and her need for him grows deeper?
Funny Haha as well as Sad Boohoo
What makes Me and Earl and the Dying Girl stand head and shoulders above its cancer movie competition is that it is actually funny. Greg’s high school is full of douchebags you will probably recognize with a chuckle. Earl is one of the only likeable people in his school. We get a charismatic performance from all the leads, but especially from Cyler. Critics have complained that Cooke as Rachel is quite blank; she is not a person but a lesson Greg learns. I would tell them to watch the end of the film again. It is has one of the most satisfying endings of any film, bringing the movie to a much deeper level than I expected by showing us who Rachel was without the need for words.
A Retreat into Real Life
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl made me ponder as I left the cinema. This is no escapist love story; instead it brings a person out of himself to reflect on one’s life and loves, as if going on a spiritual retreat. Sadly, only a few people in an empty theatre watched the movie with me. More of us have to start watching such engaging cinema to encourage the movie houses to show more intelligent films in Cebu. Real beauty such as this film should be more widely adored.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is showing (for now) in Cebu cinemas this weekend September 18-20, 2015.