Weepy romance tugs on the heartstrings

Olivia Cooke as Rachel and Thomas Mann as Greg in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Photo: PA Photo/Anne Marie Fox/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Olivia Cooke as Rachel and Thomas Mann as Greg in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Photo: PA Photo/Anne Marie Fox/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (12A) Comedy/Drama/Romance. Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke.

The good die young and that seems to be the inevitable

outcome of Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s beguiling and intensely moving screen adaptation of Jesse Andrews’ debut novel.

A teenage girl is diagnosed with cancer, classmates offer their heartfelt sympathy and one childhood friend sacrifices his studies to support her through chemotherapy.

There are obvious similarities to The Fault In Our Stars, but while that film had audiences sniffling from the opening frame, Me And Earl And The Dying Girl mines a rich vein of offbeat humour

to stem the deluge of salty tears.

This is a beautifully judged rites of passage drama, that eschews mawkishness and emotional manipulation in favour of a richly detailed portrait of adolescent dreams in crisis.

Gomez-Rejon’s whimsical visual flourishes are a constant delight, perfectly reflecting socially awkward high school student and narrator Greg Gaines’ (Thomas Mann) love of classic cinema and his penchant for homemade props.

It’s not all teary, though – the film is punctuated by numerous moments of unexpected humour.