The film follows the story of Greg (Thomas Mann), a teenager in his final year of high school. He does his best to stay invisible, all while maintaining a friendship with essentially everybody in the school, especially Earl (RJ Cyler), who he's known since childhood. After a fellow student, Rachel (Olivia Cooke), is diagnosed with cancer, Greg's mum (Connie Britton) and dad (Nick Offerman) encourage him to spend some time with her. And he does. While their initial encounters can get a little uncomfortable, as the two spend more time together, they progressively become closer friends.
There's no lollygagging here. This film is nothing but the cold, hard, honest truth, and this truth isn't always as depressing and bleak as one would think. The film, and I refuse to write the title down again until the conclusion because it's just going to take up so much of my time, is full of humour, always looking at the brighter side of life. No matter what the situation is, director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and screenwriter/author Jesse Andrews always approach the situation with a smile on their face.
While all the performances are absolutely terrific, the three title characters all at the top of their game, it's the cinematography and the direction that I was most impressed with. The film plays out like a Wes Anderson movie, featuring highly stylised camera movements and title cards that add a whole new layer to everything. There's even a re-occuring reference to a pair of animals, and this reference is shown through stop-motion animation. It's an utter delight to watch and it rushes past very quickly. It's a film that makes you completely loose track of time, and I'm okay with that.