REASONS "ME & EARL & THE DYING GIRL" IS ONE OF THE BEST-WRITTEN MOVIES I'VE EVER SEEN
I got to see this movie the other day at an early screening. I honestly only went because I'm traveling alone and was bored and it was free. I watched the preview and thought "Meh, high school Juno-quirky comedy. Boring." But I'm so glad I went because it was wonderful. I'm not a film buff at all but to my amateur eye the writing was superb.
- •It makes dialog seem effortlessAn exercise: while you watch, imagine yourself writing what comes out of each next person's mouth. What was actually written is often surprising and inevitable. In my experience effortless almost always has tremendous effort behind it.
- •It is genuinely funnyI don't say this much about comedies. I guess I'm a curmudgeon. But I laughed out loud repeatedly.
- •Rachel is believableIt is almost impossible to write teenagers. Probably because teenagers as a rule can't write and adults know too much. So they're always slapstick, a caricature, or insufferable. But Rachel is a kid I 100% believe exists and I love her.
- •Earl is courageous (as a character)He's black and he "sounds" black and he challenges all our assumptions without being didactic and I love him.
- •Gregg is someone you can identify withGregg is like a way more clever way more talented version of just about every unsure alienated lost teenage boy and it rings so true it transports you. He is fragile and I love him.
- •It trusts usIt trusts us to sort things out thematically. It trusts us to cope. It trusts us to be patient. This is something so many movies fail at. (And is probably as much direction as writing but anyway...)
- •It is genuinely movingIn the words of Billy Joel, "it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete when I wore a younger man's clothes."
- •It is delightfully weirdI'm always a sucker for weird for the sake of story.
- •It made avant garde film seem like something meaningfulI struggle with art appreciation. I sort of need meaning to be spelled out for me (you know, like in a book with words). But the avant garde-ish film at the end seemed genuinely meaningful despite its apparent lack of content.
- •[placeholder for future spoiler anecdote about how I felt after]