When a film garners a standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival, you know it's no ordinary flick. That was the honor bestowed upon 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl', the second feature film directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon of American Horror Story and Glee fame. The film is based on a book, which was converted into a screenplay by author Jesse Andrews.
The film follows the travails of awkward high school senior Greg, who makes a conscious effort to not be friends with anyone so as to not make enemies. His only companion of sorts is Earl, a childhood neighbor who he makes whimsical and eccentrically brilliant short films with. However, Greg's philosophy of being as invisible as possible gets shaken up when a girl in his school is diagnosed with leukemia, and his mother forces him to hang out with her.
'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' is not merely a typical high school coming-of-age drama however, as it also touches on the nature of creativity and how you can leverage your emotions in your creative endeavors. The film is largely character-driven and relies heavily on the chemistry between its protagonists. Gomez-Rejon points out that "a lot of thought goes into picking actors that have the right energy and have the right chemistry", but adds that at tne end of the day, "to even think that as a director you can control everything is a joke".
Heavily character-driven, the film is also noteworthy for its use of claymation sequences as well as intelligent use of silence to draw viewers into the characters' emotional states. With a healthy blend of laughs and tear-jerking moments, this movie is quite capable of becoming a touchstone of its generation.
However despite all the accolades, Gomez-Rejon says he's "keeping it real" and not dreaming of Oscar nominations or other glittering awards, and that he's simply proud of the film he was able to make. Considering the film's critical reception even prior to release, he certainly has every reason to feel proud.
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