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Movie Review

'Me And Earl' Seems To Be Missing A Point

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a dreadfully bad title, but not exactly a bad movie, though in the end it doesn't seem to be about much of anything.

Thomas Mann is a high school senior who practically bans social life, until his mother, Connie Britton, gets him to bring a little light into the life of Olivia Cooke, a fellow student who is socially limited because she has been diagnosed with leukemia. Since we never see Cooke before she learns about her cancer, we don't see much of what the diagnosis did to her, and since the movie as a whole seems to advocate treating the fatally afflicted (as much as possible) as if nothing was wrong with them, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl comes off pretty much as a rather ordinary story of mid-teenage friendship rather than a romance.

Except for their emotional restraint, there is nothing particularly likeable or interesting about the characters, though there is a little novelty in the home movies that Mann and his only close friend, RJ Cyler, make in tribute to-- but not imitation of-- the movies they see, which are relative oldies like Apocalypse Now and The Seventh Seal, though where they are seeing them is not very clear.

Mann and Cyler seem to be spending all their free time in the office of their history teacher, whose office is like a small library, but the movie isn't about this strange relationship, either. It's primarily about the gradual opening up of Mann, who eventually experiences a sort of role reversal as he slowly takes over the life of the dying Cooke. But everybody is so stoic that there isn't much to that story, either, and Cyler, as Earl, just sort of tags along.

Except for the homemade movies, which are crude and don't show much, there isn't a lot to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and I'm not sure what its point was supposed to be.