Yesterday, I posted my book review of Me and Earl and the Dying girl by Jesse Andrews. If you want to, you can read it by clicking here.
In this post, I am going to compare said book to its movie. To read other posts like this, click here.
Warning: This post will contain
s p o i l e r s.
So, if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, don’t read this post!
Unless, you know, you’re 100% sure you’ll never watch the movie. In which case, go ahead!
Greg Gaines was played by Thomas Mann, who you may recognise from an array of movies, including It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Fun Size, and Beautiful Creatures.
Personally, I never thought much of Thomas before, and so was surprised to see how well he performed in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Frankly, in the novel, I didn’t find Greg funny at all, but Thomas managed to pull it off, and made me laugh on a few occasions. Obviously, when staying true to the novel, Mann said some very unfunny stuff, but I can’t criticize that – I just still fail to see how Greg Gaines is humorous. He is more so in the movie that the novel, though, and that’s all thanks to Thomas.
Furthermore, I was very happy to see that Greg wasn’t the slime-ball I had pictured him as – and he was described – in the book. In my opinion, the character of Greg worked better as a skinny, lanky boy than it ever did as an overweight, snotty boy that I always failed to picture over the age of 7.
This was definitely a good alteration.
Likewise, Greg was a lot more vocal in the movie than the novel. (This sounds like a silly thing to say, since movies obviously have sound, and books don’t, but bear with…) I noticed that much of the inner monologue in the book was said aloud to other characters in the movie, which made it so that he appeared much less like a robot without feelings, and much more like – you know – a person.
Thus, I would say movie Greg trumps book Greg by a long shot.
Earl Jackson was played by RJ Cyler, and I thought he was perfect for the role. As I mentioned in my review of the novel, Earl was my favourite character, and he was again in the movie.
The transition of Earl from page to screen was seamless; he was exactly as I imagined him, from his voice to his appearance to his clothing choices.
In terms of his back-story, I was a little disappointed to discover that he wasn’t explored in much depth. I remember wishing I’d learned more about him from the novel, but it feels as though the movie scrapped any idea of giving him a back-story at all, save for a 60 second introduction to his and Greg’s friendship. Whilst this was disappointing, I think it’s better than drowning in unanswered questions again.
Rachel Kushner was played by Olivia Cooke, and the first good sign about this is that I can actually remember the character’s name! (Which I could not do when reflecting on the book…)
The movie Rachel – in my opinion – was much better than the Rachel in the book. In the simplest terms, movie-Rachel had a personality – it’s that simple!
Olivia Cooke was really great at creating a sensitive yet funny character, who didn’t just politely laugh at all of Greg’s jokes, but actually build a friendship with him.
In terms of her appearance, I think she was a good choice, due to the fact that she was pretty, but not overly so. In the novel, Greg states that she has frizzy hair and big teeth, and isn’t anything special. In the movie, I struggle to believe Greg would have such a frank opinion of her. Her hair was still frizzy, but I thought it was cute. Her teeth, however, were not oversized, which I didn’t really care about – I mention this solely because Greg repeated on odd occasions that she had big teeth, as if it were important.
In the novel, the Gaines family consists of Greg, his mother, his father, 2 younger sisters, and a cat (Cat Stevens). In the movie, the sisters are omitted, which I thought was a smart move, because – frankly – their characters were pointless in the book…I don’t think they even said anything.
Greg’s mother was played by Connie Britton – who I immediately recognised from American Horror Story – and was great.
She was perfect amounts of comedic and caring, and I think it worked really well.
Greg’s father was played by Nick Offerman, and was much better in the movie than the book. In the book, I just couldn’t picture him as anything in particular, but the movie definitely portrayed a funny character that suited the movie. Also, his constant coupling with the cat worked really well, especially when considering the other aspects of his personality – stay at home dad who likes crazy foods.
Greg and Earl
Whilst they had a lot more chemistry in the movie than the novel, I still can’t shake the feeling that they didn’t really seem like friends at all. Granted, the both the movie and the book discuss the fact that they only thing they have in common in the movies they make together, but it just felt a little flawed in the movie.
I could sense the weakness of their friendship, and it always felt awkward when they were alone together.
I don’t know – I just didn’t really like it.
Greg and Rachel
As awkward as their relationship began, I was surprised and elated to see an actual relationship grow. In the novel, Greg and Rachel barely even talk, but in the movie, they are seen to discuss many things, and even hang out together, away from Rachel’s house.
I much preferred the movie relationship to the book relationship – it just felt a lot more real. Their discussions weren’t just one-sided (Greg), and they seemed to care about each other a lot more than the book characters ever did.
The ending of the novel had absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. And that’s because Greg – as the narrator – didn’t linger on the death of Rachel.
The movie, however, stuck to the death of the Dying Girl like glue. And, I mean, I guess it was emotional? I personally didn’t cry, and didn’t really feel anything other than boredom. I just felt like the whole thing dragged a little.
Frankly, I felt as though the whole movie dragged.
I don’t know. I guess it just wasn’t for me.
I would say that it’s at least twice as good as the book though.
So, if you’ve read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and enjoyed it, I would definitely recommend you watch the movie. If you didn’t really enjoy it, I wouldn’t bother.
I really hope you enjoyed this post, and if you did, make sure to leave me a like and a comment – it means the world to me!
Have you read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl? Have you seen the film adaptation?
Tell me what you thought in the comments!