Based on the debut novel of writer Jesse Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is endearing with its painfully suburban but quirky setting, wide range of eccentric characters and first-person narration by our main character, Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann). From the get go, his character is swiftly established with his first line: “This is the story of my senior year of high school. How I almost destroyed my life and made a film so bad it literally killed someone.”
Following the high-school filmmaking duo Greg and Earl (RJ Cyler) through their “doomed” friendship with Rachel Kushner (Olivia Cooke), a classmate who’s been recently diagnosed with leukemia, the movie seems to contain the makings of a perfectly mawkish tale, set to induce tears and follow every cliché that might spring from such a relationship. It is very clearly a coming of age film, generally filled with the suburban strife of coming to grips with life and responsibility. As such, its plot isn’t so innovative or fascinating: A white boy in suburbs grows up (or makes a butchered attempt to).