Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl

The indie flick Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl is in limited release and open wider so I was able to catch it. I’ve never once seen a more Wes Anderson-like that isn’t actually made by Wes Anderson. It has all the visual, camera, and ironic dialog tropes of a Wes Anderson film… and its more human than his movies tend to be.

This is a hyper-aware kids with cancer movie that literally tells us that this isn’t the kind of cancer or romantic movie than you would expect. Which is fine since it’s ok to have an ironic indie film that treats teens with cancer intelligently and without a lot of sad and maudlin scenes. Except, despite what it says, it IS sad and maudlin. I had a moment where I wanted to throw my Coke at the screen when it turns into the movie it claimed it wasn’t… but the movie still managed to work despite it’s intellectual or philosophical betrayal.

This movie is about a teen guy who has a friend named Earl who make ironic satire movies based on semi-obscure art house movies of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. They have a vague acquaintance who they are told has leukemia so the main character is forced to hang out with her and be her friend. They are both aware that this is something their parents are forcing on them… but they become friends anyway, through thick and thin.

Overall, this is a good movie that made me laugh and then bummed me out. There was a lot of laughter in the movie and I could hear pockets of weeping too so I know I wasn’t the only one getting into it. It wasn’t perfect in that the girl is kind of turned into an Ideal that the boy is going to learn Important Life Lessons from instead of being a truly fleshed out character with her own identity (a kind of manic pixie dreamgirl except neither manic nor pixie). Which is unfortunate but the movie still is able to earn itself a good score.

Score: 87

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