Oh man, I can’t believe how emotional this film made me! Jeeze, I was actually an emotional wreck! I have to be honest though this film wasn’t one that I was dying to see, I only really watched it because I was home alone and a little bit bored… I didn’t really know what I was expecting, but I really enjoyed it!
I don’t want to describe the plot too much because Amy did a beautiful job in her book review of this story, so if you want to see a more detailed description of the story I will leave the link here, trust me it’s a really good review! But briefly, this story is about an ordinary teenage boy, Greg, who only really has one friend, Earl. However, his mother forces him to hang out with this girl Rachel who has just been diagnosed with Leukemia and they form an unexpected friendship.
The whole film is narrated by Greg, with little annotations, which I assume were chapters in the book? Anyways, I really liked that idea and I felt, as an audience, very included in the story. From what I can gather from Amy’s fab book review the film is pretty true to the book. It was well made in terms it really felt like a real teenager’s point of view (speaking from experience here), although I do have one question… is American high school really like that? It looked like a jungle and much more intense than high school here in England, or was it seriously exaggerated?
From Amy’s description, the characters seem a little different than in the book. Greg seemed pretty similar, just less interested in girls ‘and stuff’ in the film. I did feel as though I could relate to Greg through his self-confidence, I liked that this film showed a guy struggling with confidence issues and not just girls, a breath of fresh air, I liked it. He was also superbly acted by Thomas Mann, actually, all the acting in this film was brilliant, there weren’t many faces that I recognized, except Connie Britton who played Greg’s mum. I loved the actors in the principal roles such as Olivia Cooke who played Rachel and RJ Cyler who played Earl. I actually really liked Earl, I think he must have been played in more of a favorable light than in the book, but I thought he was really honest and funny!
I really liked the humor in this film, although it is technically a ‘Cancer Story’, it really did make me giggle, although sometimes I wasn’t sure whether I should be laughing? Also, another thing I quite liked was that it felt like a (well made) home video, I think this was because Greg was constantly narrating, so it felt like one of his films, which was pretty cool. The only criticism I have, and it is pretty small, is that I didn’t feel as though the continuation was great, I mean it wasn’t bad, but at some points, I felt like I was missing something?
The best thing about this film though is the portrayal of cancer and its effects on the sufferer and the people around them who love them. It was realistic, emotional and very close to home. There was a quote in the film that really resonated with me, I can’t remember it exactly so I’m quoting this from Amy’s book review … “you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn’t really hit you, and then when it does, that’s when you feel like shit.” I cannot describe how much I understand this, I have felt exactly the same, cancer affects so many people so I won’t be the only one who understands this. There aren’t many films that can touch me personally but this one certainly did.
I really enjoyed this film, it was such an emotional roller-coaster, it’s a great book if you’re in the mood for a laugh or a good cry! I’m going to give this 4/5 stars, I really enjoyed it.