review – me and earl and the dying girl

Me_&_Earl_&_the_Dying_Girl_(film)_POSTER

A late review perhaps, but summers need more movies like this. This is a movie without special effects, big stars, and loud noises. Often, the camera just sits patiently, waiting for scenes to unfold. Actors play characters who feel genuine; they speak to one another in dialog that tells the truth without lapsing into vulgarity. Humor evolves from human interaction; nobody is reciting jokes, spewing one-liners. This is directing with a light touch, writing with a real feeling for the way young people communicate, wide-angle cinematography that emphasizes the distance between people. The movie has a real story to tell – a story of two people who gave up on themselves, but never each other. You will fall in love with both of them. Is it possible for two young people to have a relationship that doesn’t involve sex, nudity, or alcohol? Is it possible to make a movie that somehow feels special with very little story and even less action? Is it possible to create so many honest laughs about a situation so tragic — and yet never seem insensitive?

Just watch. It all unfolds slowly, on ordinary days filled with ordinary people being true to themselves and ending up making an extraordinary difference to someone else. The cast is small but it’s the three young people who carry this movie and make its story feel so authentic. Thomas Mann speaks without a filter; sometimes it’s the truth, sometimes it’s a lie. RJ Cyler reveals a sly, almost lazy wit — and a fierce sense of loyalty. Olivia Cooke has the look and spirit of a young Carey Mulligan, sweet, smart, sassy, sensible – and doomed. In some ways, this movie invites comparisons with “The Fault In Our Stars,” but this one feels less polished and more personal, less “written” and more “improvised.” It’s looser with less story, a lower budget, more “raw” if less “refreshing.” While it struggles to find a conclusive ending, it’s well worth seeing – and memorably entertaining in its insistence that life will keep unfolding itself to you if you simply pay attention.

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