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Sundance: "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" fantastic, hilarious and heartbreaking
by JENNIFFER WARDELL
Jan 29, 2015 | 8815 views | 0 0 comments | 645 645 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Photo by Chung Hoon Chung | Sundance Institute
Photo by Chung Hoon Chung | Sundance Institute
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Not rated, but there is some language, references to drugs and discussion of death

Screenplay by Jesse Andrews, based on his novel

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Starring Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Jon Bernthal, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon and more

Grade: 

The more beautiful life is, the more it has the potential to break your heart.

This is also true of "Me & Earl & the Dying Girl," a little gem of a movie based on the novel of the same name by Jesse Andrews. Hilarious, sweet and occasionally gut-wrenching, the movie is absolutely fantastic from script to direction to performances. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll immediately want to go out and read the novel.

The narrator of the movie is Greg (Thomas Mann), a teenager who's both cocky and self-loathing and has a fool-proof system to never get noticed by anyone. He calls his one friend, Earl (RJ Cyler), his co-worker because (as Earl brilliantly de-constructs in the movie) , he's scared of acknowledging that he's close to anyone because he's afraid they'll leave him.

Then his mother forces him to start hanging out with Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a passing school acquaintance who was just diagnosed with leukemia. From this point on I won't tell you what happens, except to reassure you that it neatly sidesteps a lot of the "cancer bond" cliches found in your average Lifetime movie of the week with wit and a healthy dose of delightfully believable awkwardness.

The chemistry between the three leads is fantastic, a push-pull of anger, forgiveness and genuinely wry affection all smoothed along by honest, unself-conscious performances. It helps that the script is excellent as well, with dialogue that snaps and a generous heart at the center.

This one got picked up by Fox Searchlight, which means that it should be hitting theaters at some point this coming year. When it does, I urge you to all to rush out and see it.

Just make sure to bring tissues when you do. 

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