PITTSBURGH MADE: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)

Writer Jesse Andrews was born in Pittsburgh and his family home in Point Breeze was used as lead character Greg’s (Thomas Mann) house in the film, while Rachel’s (Olivia Cooke) house is in Squirrel Hill and Earl’s (RJ Cyler) house is in Braddock. This film actually gives a pretty good tour of the city, as the old Schenley High School, The Warhol, Copacetic Comics and Oakland all show up.

I first watched this because it was directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who did such a phenomenal job on the reimagined The Town That Dreaded Sundown.

Greg’s parents — Nick Offerman and Connie Britton — force him to spend time with Rachel, who is suffering from leukemia and not attending school. As she grows sicker and loses her hair, Greg assures us that she does not die in the end. To keep her spirits up, he shares the film parodies that he creates with his co-worker — he is afraid to say friend about anyone — Earl.

Greg begins to neglect school — and even a popular girl named Madison (Katherine C. Hughes) as he struggles to stay positive as Rachel gets worse. He even loses his friendship with his collaborator as they finish making a movie to try and help her spirits.

I can’t think about this movie without tearing up  Gomez-Rejon made it in the attempt to create a more personal movie and deal with the loss of his father. It really says something about growing up and the people we gain and lose as we stumble through life. I recommend it highly.

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