Film review: ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL (12A)

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A Sundance Film Festival winner . . . and I can see why.

CAST: THOMAS MANN, OLIVIA COOKE, RJ CYLER, NICK OFFERMAN, CONNIE BRITTON, JON BERNTHAL & MOLLY SHANNON

RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 45 MINS

DIRECTOR: ALFONSO GOMEZ-REJON

A Sundance Film Festival winner . . . and I can see why.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at this year’s acclaimed festival – and it’s no surprise as the movie contains all the ingredients needed to bake a prized pie.

This is a tear-jerking coming-of-age drama with enough comic relief thrown-in to ensure you’re not too depressed by the end of it.

Based on the title, I’m sure you’ve guessed that the film arcs around three key characters. ‘Me’ is Greg (Thomas Mann), a socially awkward teenager who has purposely managed to stay under the radar throughout his school years – with ‘Earl’ (RJ Cyler) being Greg’s friend.

The two of them spend their time hanging out, playing computer games, and making quirky films based around classic flicks – ‘A Sockwork Orange’ and ‘Senior Citizen Kane’ to name a couple.

The ‘Dying Girl’ is Rachel (Bates Motel’s Olivia Cooke) – a girl from their school diagnosed with cancer – who Greg’s mother convinces him to befriend during her difficult time.

He agrees, but doing so completely takes him out of his comfort zone – and even worse, makes him visible to those around him at school.

A small problem here is that the entire film is narrated by Greg – who is the least interesting character out of the three – but thankfully the trio are together a lot, and when they are, the film is at it’s best.

The leads (and supporting cast) all bounce off each other and often bring comedy to what is essentially a morbid topic. RJ Cyler puts in an extremely humorous performance in the ‘best friend role’ that provides the majority of laugh-out-loud moments. Fans of American TV sitcom Park and Recreation would also enjoy the performance of Nick Offerman, as a quirky and offbeat father.

It is enhanced with some extremely well-written scenes – with the cast giving strong performances in their roles – even though it is probably trying a bit too hard to emulate last year’s smash-hit A Fault in Our Stars.

There’s probably less tears in this – but definitely more laughter.

Rating: 4/5 Mikey Clarke