Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

WRITTEN BY: Jesse Andrews
DIRECTED BY: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
STARRING: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman
RATING: 3.5 stars

Self-loathing high school student Greg (Thomas Mann) avoids getting too close to people and spends most of his time making parodies of classic films with his "co-worker" Earl (RJ Cyler). But when his parents force him to spend time with his classmate Rachel (Olivia Cooke) after she is diagnosed with cancer, he is forced to reassess his outlook on life.

Who does not love an offbeat coming of age story? Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is hilarious, bittersweet and has a poignant message. The characters are realistically awkward, angst-ridden and endearing, and the leading trio are all convincing in their roles. Adding gravitas to an otherwise relatively unknown principal cast are Nick Offerman as Greg's unusual sociologist father, Jon Bernthal as the tattooed history teacher and Molly Shannon as Rachel's borderline alcoholic mother. The film also makes good use of random animation and unusual chapter headings to add to the enjoyable quirkiness. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl may be pitched as a truthful look at teenage life, but older viewers will experience just as many laughs and tears as younger audiences.