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Monday, November 16, 2015

Laredo native directs "Me, Earl and the Dying Girl"

In movies, one of the first and most memorable women to die on film is Camille, a victim of tuberculosis. The movie is made more memorable by Greta Garbo's stunning luminance. 

Dying girls have been in stories since the time of gods and goddesses in Greece and long before. It's the definition of tragedy that someone has to die, and how much sadder and more tragic can it get than to have a beautiful girl die.

In the 1970's Ali McGraw played an iconic figure of a dying college girl in "Love Story," who left only a slightly less tragic grief-stricken boyfriend.

In 2015, the genre evolves with some welcome leavening and imagination in the new award winning film directed by borderlands native Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. "Me, Earl and the Dying Girl," is a film about high school seniors who step with equal parts reluctance and courage from the high diving board of senior year into the mysterious pool of adulthood

The story is about Greg, a senior who has perfected the art of flying under the radar through his years in high school, avoiding becoming a member of any of the cliques that populate his school.  Greg's mission is to continue being invisible through his last semester of high school. Instead of looking forward to college, he's  nearly paralyzed about the new people and experiences that await. 

He has one friend, Earl, with whom he has made dozens of film parodies. His other friend, a girl, was recently forced on him by his persistent if not down right nagging mother.  She is a childhood friend who's been struck with leukemia and who he is forced to visit. Their awkwardness and friendship is as funny as it is poignant.

There is no love angle in this teen movie. However, to accompany Greg as he steps cautiously forward with the help of his two friends is a rare and unexpected pleasurable journey. 

"Me, Earl and the Dying Girl" shows what it means to fly out from under the radar with the help of your friends and embrace your own brand of awkward That's as succinct a recipe for growing up as I've ever seen.