Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a 2015 American comedy-drama film directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and written by Jesse Andrews, based on Andrews’ 2012 debut novel of the same name. The film stars Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, RJ Cyler, and Jon Bernthal. The film premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival to a standing ovation. It won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic and the Audience Award for U.S. Drama at the festival. The film was released on June 12, 2015, by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Awkward, lanky, and self-loathing, Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) is a senior at Pittsburgh’s Schenley High School who appears to drift through life while only seeming to broadly associate himself with the various cliques within Schenley’s halls. He learns that a fellow student and former childhood friend of his, Rachel Kushner (Olivia Cooke), has been diagnosed with leukemia and is forced by his parents (Nick Offerman and Connie Britton) to befriend her in her time of need. Despite neither of them truly wanting the other’s company, Greg manages to strike up a conversation about her pillow collection. She finds his quirky personality endearing and they make plans to meet on a regular basis.
Over time, Greg introduces Rachel to his longtime co-worker Earl (RJ Cyler), with whom he makes short films parodying famous film titles. At Greg’s reluctance, Earl convinces Greg to share their collection of short films with her, which she finds entertaining. As Rachel begins chemotherapy, her disease worsens, and Greg begins spending less time at school and more time caring for her.
Discovering them shooting another film, Madison (Katherine C. Hughes), Greg’s crush, convinces Greg and Earl to make a film dedicated to Rachel, and Rachel persuades Greg to apply to a local college. Despite being accepted by the college, Greg continues to ignore schoolwork, and eventually school altogether, in order to finish the film. After realizing that her chemotherapy is doing more harm than good, Rachel opts to discontinue her treatment. Greg and Rachel have a heated argument over her choice where she points out his unwillingness to do anything selfless unless he’s told to do so. He leaves, devastated that he can no longer help her.
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