Opening 19 Nov 2015
Filmmaker Alfanso Gomez-Rgjon brings to life a compelling story, packed with emotion, tension and love in his feature film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
Childhood friends Greg (Thomas Mann) and Earl (Bobb'e J Thompson) make short film parodies of classic films. Now in their senior year in high school, they have been filmmakers since childhood. The best of friends, the two manage to remain group-less. They are typical loners. Greg navigates just enough to be accepted by all, but disconnected enough to avoid being associated with any one high school group. Earl doesn't even go that far. Being unsocial is not an issue for him. The two mastered the lack of confidence necessary to be the ultimate nerds.
Greg's mother's close girlfriend has a daughter, Rachel (Olivia Cooke). She also is a senior attending Greg's high school. The two know of each other but never hang out together. Word gets around school that Rachel is diagnosed with leukemia. Greg's mother asks him to pay Rachel a visit, to hang out. Greg is mortified at the thought because they are not friends, more like acquaintances. Friends come to the rescue to cheer and to guide but acquaintances? Not likely. The concept of socializing with someone he does not know, and is dying is definitely a problem.
After days of listening to his mother nag him to pay Rachel just one visit, Greg agrees. The condition being Greg would visit one time only. Greg recruits Earl to join him. The two are greeted at the front door of Rachel's house by her mother. Surprised and happy someone has come to call on Rachel she gives each boy a hug. Her mother is hopeful that visitors will be an encouragement to her daughter to not give up hope and know her peers care about her.
Rachel clearly states that she isn't up for visitors so Earl leaves. Greg on the other hand cannot take no for an answer. He promised his mother he'd visit for a few hours. Knowing his mother will find out if this does not happen, he cannot return home without his task complete. Reluctant to be brutally honest with Rachel (the dying girl) he admits that he is visiting her to get his mother off his back. He feels awkward trying to hang out with her since they do not know each other. Greg begs Rachel to allow him to keep her company for just a short time and then he promises to never bother her again.
Rachel, enjoying the predicament Greg has been forced into, agrees after their banter of why this might not be a good idea. The forced hang-out with Rachel was the beginning of a long friendship that surprised them both. The girl dying came alive that day. As did Greg. And soon Earl was brought into the mix. In their emotionally charged teenage world the three learn to give and take from each other the most important values of friendship. Never to know such a depth could be possible, it changed their lives until death did they part. Won two prizes at 2015 Sundance film festival as well as at the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival. (Karen Pecota)