I’ve put this off mainly because I really didn’t like the book, as shown in my review here. My coworker kept telling me to watch this film because he really liked it and I finally checked it out from the library because it finally came off the $2 Rental. So below are my thoughts on the film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
Warning: there may be spoilers ahead but I think the title helps a lot of that… but just in case.
*Summary: High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.
Cast/Characters. I actually was surprised at how likable they were in the film compared to the book. In the book, I mostly only liked Earl though his characterization and background really irritated me. However, here, I enjoyed mostly everyone. I think a lot has to do with the actors.
Thomas Mann as Greg Gaines. In the book, I really hated him. In the film, the actor obviously looks nothing like how Greg describes himself in the book, but he still has that annoying self deprecating humor which still wasn’t funny, but in the film the often referenced it as “over the top humility” which is a step up. Mann played Greg with a awkwardness that could be endearing. Also, the “breakdown” scene with his mom was handled very well. This character can easily be extremely annoying but Thomas Mann handles him by dialing that down and mostly trying to appear relatable. But compared to Earl and Rachel, he’s still meh.
RJ Cyler as Earl Jackson. Once again, he was my favorite. I also really like this actor, first I’ve seen him in anything (makes me excited to see him in the Power Rangers movie lol). He was very charismatic, humorous, definitely not as vulgar as he was in the book, seemingly very smart and wise. Greg calls him a “co-worker” (as they make crappy films together) and not a “friend” but Earl definitely considers Greg to be his friend and manages to stick with him even though Greg’s annoying. Just like in the book, Earl is the one who seems to actually makes an effort with Rachel, at least in terms of being honest with her and opening up to her. He also was willing to share their films with her, he tells it like it is. That’s what I like about him and I liked him a lot in the movie. Cyler was a presence, even when he was talking, if he was just sitting there next to Greg, or watching a film, or just watching while stuff is happening, I couldn’t help but to look at him. He commands attention which is what the Earl character does anyway but Cyler definitely helped that.
On the flip side of that, which I don’t want to make his own “con”, while his character is all of these things, he’s also just there to move Greg forward. Which is unfortunate being he’s way more interesting.
Olivia Cooke as Rachel Kushner. Also liked her much more in the film than in the book. In the book, it was hard to even like her because Greg didn’t seem to actually like her, since he’s narrating it was so hard to get close to her so when she dies (Not really a spoiler as it’s in the title) I didn’t care that much but it was so different here. When we first meet her here, she and Greg have a witty conversation, plus her delivery was great, I know the actor is British but she does her accent well here and I liked the deep raspy quality of her voice. Kind of helped make Rachel stand out on her own. At first she and Greg awkwardly become friends as he was forced to befriend her by his mother, but as they get closer, you see her slowly start to take to him but as she gets sicker, Cooke holds a lot of emotion in her eyes. As her character started to give up, she would crumple her face but before that, her eyes would twitch and I actually liked her so when she died (which was such a great scene), I actually did tear up.