Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Movie Review)

Once again Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a movie where I have actually read the book beforehand, but can’t remember it in much detail. Maybe I should really start reading them closer to the movie release date …

me-and-earl-and-the-dying-girl

Genre: Drama/Comedy
Length: 105 min
Cast: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal …
DirectorAlfonso Gomez-Rejon
Writer: Jesse Andrews (for both, the novel and the screenplay)

Greg Gaines tries to survive High School by being on good terms with everyone but friends with no one. He usually spends his time making parody-like remakes of classic movies with his co-worker Earl. That is until his mother forces him to hang out with Rachel, a girl who just got diagnosed with cancer and who will profoundly change his life.

Me and Earl was originally a YA novel and reeked quite some havoc at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, igniting a bidding war for the movie. I have to say it is definitely one of the the better Indie movies out there and after the whole The Fault In Our Stars hype an original and refreshing take on the cancer-topic. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon puts his own spin on the story and makes every scene feel either beautiful, comical or deeply relevant.

I remember not liking Greg very much in the book and maybe he still isn’t the most likable character out there. Greg is just such a freaking liar, most of all to himself I think and that broke my heart. However, this time around I just felt so much more with him. And with Rachel as well. And also with Earl. I really have to say that all three (Mann, Cyler and Cooke) did a brilliant job with their respective characters. The adults were also cast very well, but they are just not the focus of the story.

I like that Me and Earl wasn’t pretentious or over the top. It had a beautiful cinematography, but often in the most simple ways. I can tell you that I was just crying by the end – the final message was just brilliant. I hope that this movie will get a bigger audience over time and won’t get stuck in the art-house or indie sector, because it does have commercial potential.

Fazit: I am glad that I’ve watched the movie. It made me feel so much more than the book.

What’s your take on Me and Earl and the Dying Girl? Do you prefer the book or the movie or like them both equally?

Testament of Youth Review

A while ago I watched the Trailer for Testament of Youth and I knew I wanted to know more about it. I bought the book or rather the memoirs of Vera Brittain, which the movie is based on, but I haven’t managed to finish it yet. Nonetheless, I finally decided to watch the movie and I do not regret not having waited any longer! I will keep this post Spoiler-free but I cannot say the same about the comments!

Here some basic facts:

Genre: Biography/Drama/History

Length: 129  minutes

Cast: Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Colin Morgan, Taron Egerton, Hayley Atwell, Emily Watson, Dominic West, Miranda Richardson …

Director: James Kent 

Testament of Youth is the real account of Vera Brittain’s life and keeping that in mind, the movie was just so much more heartfelt and heartbreaking than I thought it would be. I can tell you that they did not stick to the book a 100%, but that was a thing of impossibility anyway. What fascinated me so much about it though, was that the point of view wasn’t from someone at the front, someone involved in the actual fighting, but rather the view of a person who got left behind. Vera does everything possible to be of help, joining the volunteers as a nurse and in that way she witnesses her own horrors of war.

I always have my problems with war stories. There are never any real winners. Yet, the movie shows why people joined up, what their course of thinking was – their motivation. It also shows how war changed them and in consequence also their lives, their thinking and the people they love. Towards the end Vera gives an impressive speech in front of a pro-war crowd and she makes it her duty to never forget what happened to the people she cared about. I think we can all agree that she succeeded in doing that.

The movie is so beautiful and sad to watch (I’ll admit to having cried … a lot). The combination of strong visual pictures and quite striking poetry was extremely touching. Everyone involved did an extraordinary job and I was delighted with the work of  Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), Colin Morgan (Merlin), Taron Egerton (Kingsman) and even Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) whom I barely recognised at first. The real reason to watch is Alicia Vikander (Ex_Machina) though! She gives a strong, sympathetic and worthwhile performance, that I’ll be sure to remember.

Fazit: very recommendable!

Have you watched it as well? Have any of you read Vera’s memoirs?