Some movies make you ache. This one, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015), simultaneously made me heal…
Central to the story is Greg (the “me” in the movie’s title). He’s found a way to navigate through the often difficult maze of high school. Essentially, he makes no real attachments. Even his life-long friend, Earl (the… ah … “Earl” in the title), is someone he considers more of a business associate. Then there’s Rachel, who’s developed leukemia (and as you might have guessed, she’s the “dying girl” in the title).
Upon finding out about Rachel’s condition, Greg’s mom nags him, relentlessly, into paying Rachel a visit. And upon paying Rachel that visit, Greg finds … not much.
Ah, but we wouldn’t have a movie if things stayed that way, now would we?
What follows is an often complex, very real-feeling journey that never blinks but, happily, never stoops to cliché or asks us to pity anyone. And as this journey is allowed to unfold in its own good way and in its own good time, these friends experience a lot – often while doing very little.
And therein lies the magic.
Now how does one properly explain such magic? I found that in its simplicity, in its directness, in its awkwardness, the film allows these high-school students (and I don’t think things would have worked as well if they’d not been high-school students) to experience a depth of love that a romance would have missed.
For me, it was the characters’ lack of emotion – often underscored with the lack of a score – that ended up creating such an emotional impact. (I know that doesn’t make much sense; I’ll simply ask you to trust me on this one.)
Now, does Rachel die at the end? Those of you who’ve read my blog before (and thank you for that) know I’m not going to tell you. Instead, I’ll throw you a curve ball… If she were to die, would she really be dead?
You will, of course, find out the answer to both questions – and perhaps others of a far loftier nature – when you see this touching little film.