My friend Jenn, who is apparently a contest genie and wins basically each one she enters, won passes to go to a promo screening of the latest hot YA book turned blockbuster hit, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
I knew of the book but hadn't read it. It was pitched as a Fault in Our Stars type venture which really isn't the way to sell me on something but I was sufficiently curious, and I like free things as well as Jenn.
Never again shall this story be compared with John Green.
This movie surprised me from beginning to end. I went in expecting a melodramatic love story but what I got was a hysterical, heartbreaking and heartfelt story about friends of which one of whom just happens to be dying (please, it's in the title of the book for God's sake).
The protagonist, Greg, the 'me' In the title, leads us through his senior year of high school and shows us how things get turned upside down when his mother forces him to spend time with the dying girl, Rachel. The Earl in this equation is Greg's only friend, a person Greg simply refers to as a co-worker. On the surface they might not seem to have much in common but their love for film and recreating classics in parody form has kept their bond strong since they were kids.
The movie made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me think about using your time wisely. It's so easy, as young people, to wile away the hours, since we expect we have so many in our future. And that may be true, but things can also shift on a dime. You may as well use the time that you can doing the things you want to do with the people you want to do them with. Otherwise, life slips by pretty fast.
This movie was not a typical teen romance, or a typical teen comedy or tragedy. It lives in an orbit of its own which is just where it belongs. It's also filmed in interesting ways, the camera twisting and turning with symbolic relevance and staying still for shots over five minutes long to give us a real idea of stasis and drama. The acting is also phenomenal, RJ Cyler (Earl) being the standout performer, with his dry, monotonous banter and solid dramatic acting chops in one of the films climatic scenes.
I don't want to give much away, as it's worth going into this film knowing as little as possible to get as much an effect out of it as possible. Go see it, you won't regret your time spent watching it.
It's out in theatres June 12.