First of all – this is not a John Hughes Movie – it has all the typical elements, life at a high school, the kids and their gangs, friendship, love, the hot girl, the nerd, the friendly teacher, trouble with parents and life itself but …
…this is the story of Greg, Earl and Rachel, three very different kids who happen to build a friendship. It all starts with Greg whose goal is to stay invisible during Highschool. He is friendly with all the different groups, works hard to build a connection but tries never to get too far – during the breaks he even avoids the cafeteria and spends time with his friend (or co-worker as he calls him) Earl in the office of one of the teachers to watch movies.
That all changes when his parents tell him that Rachel – one of the other kids in school – was diagnosed with cancer. His mother asks him to go and spend time with her and after some discussion he does – and the first day of their doomed friendship starts.
Second of all – this is not a love story, it’s about love but it focusses more on friendship. Greg and Rachel start to spend more and more time with each other. Funnily the kid who tries to stay invisible becomes more and more visible to the world, which changes his world. Everything that went smooth starts to get difficult and so on. This is what life’s all about, up and down it goes and Greg is confronted with it. Apart from their personal doomed friendship Earl comes in and with him a bunch of other people who appear frequently and show how school life works. Especially the hot girl, which is constantly touching Greg and is very friendly to him – each time giving him the creeps.
Without spoiling too much – the friendship between Greg and Rachel is the main storyline of this movie and it’s emotional strength. The script offers amazing dialogues between those two and the actors are amazing, I loved each scene where the two of them were sitting in the room of Rachel and talking about her life, about the cancer and what may or may not happen. It is filled with joy, fun and sadness. These are the moments where we see real people who learn a lot from each other by being different and seeing life from different perspectives.
The – Greg and Earl make movies – part was great for me, too. Being a movie fan myself I kept looking for all the references in the background and – oh my gosh – there were many. Not only by visiting a Music/Comic/Book Store and showing what the kids like but also the covers of the self made movies from Greg and Earl. It reminded me a lot on Be Kind Rewind, in this case it was more fun because the boys changed the titles, built their own scenery and made a lot of funny scenes. Worth watching, believe me.
Overall that movie takes all the elements of a Highschool comedy, flavours it with some influences by movies from Michel Gondry and Wes Anderson and stays on the ground by showing real people. The elements of making a visual or even artful scenery have been used in a reduced form and instead focussed on the characters and their story. It’s good to see a story like this told in a way like that.