Nuanced performances and pitch-perfect dialogue make ‘Other People’ a painful, yet life-affirming experience
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Me & Earl & the Dying Girl is a film that has perhaps garnered the most hype this year at Sundance, and you should believe every word of it. By the end of the screening, there was hardly a dry eye in the entire theater. Following a teenage outsider, Greg (Thomas Mann), who makes cheap and funny remakes of classic films with his friend Earl (RJ Cyler), as he befriends a classmate, Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who has just developed leukemia. With a logline like that, it’s hard to not understand where all the tears are coming from. It sometimes feels cheap for filmmakers to use cancer as a way to garner emotion from the audience, but trust that when the tears do come, every single one has been earned.
Twenty years ago, if someone said that ‘zombie romantic comedy’ was going to become an actual cinematic sub-genre, they’d have been called a witch and burned at the stake. And yet, they would have been right, and Fantasia 2014 has seen the unveiling of yet another film in the rapidly expanding genre, Life After Beth. Starring Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation and Dane DeHaan, recently of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Life After Beth is best described as a zombie breakup comedy. It’s also best described as “decent, but not amazing”, a serviceable enough zom-rom-com kept afloat mostly by the supporting cast.