Sunday, 6 September 2015

REVIEW - ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL (ALFONSO GOMEZ-REJON)


It's disappointing to witness such talent squandered like this. Or maybe the talent only emerges in the process of squandering it - Me and Earl and the Dying Girl makes you feel deeply and profoundly, until you realise in resentment that such apparent profundity was achieved through such calculated means. Whatever deceptive imitation of technique was employed in crafting the painfully-affected mise en scene of this excruciatingly twee indie film pays off in the end, and the extent to which one can digest that may be directly related to how quickly and how completely ones rejects its stylistic and thematic delusions. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a cruel reminder that self-aware, 'meta' hipster culture still holds court over much of the American independent film industry - the screenplay, by Jesse Andrews from his novel, is so eager to inform us that it's ahead of our expectations at every juncture that it conforms to the cliche of equally-expected subversion, only with a smug, superior, self-aggrandising tone that plays into this non-culture like no film before it. It's insufferably sure of itself, and unconscionably wrong to be so. And yet it's so successful on its own terms, or perhaps those details are all related. There's half-decent comedic timing in the direction that clicks at times, though the characterisations are ruefully offensive, from the archetypal Manic Pixie Dream Girl to the film's ugly ignorance about race. What talent there is in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and there is talent there, is squandered on stereotypes - not only in the film's characters, but in the film itself.