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Sunday August 19th 2018

Me And Earl And The Dying Girl | 2015

Me And Earl And The Dying Girl filming location: Murray Hill Avenue, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl location: Rachel's home: Murray Hill Avenue, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh | Photograph: Google Maps

17-year-old film buff Greg (Thomas Mann) carefully negotiates the cliquish factions of high school by keeping his profile low to the point of invisibility, concentrating on producing bizarre versions of his fave movies with ‘co-worker’ Earl (RJ Cyler).

When his mother obliges him to befriend Rachel (Olivia Cooke), an acquaintance who’s been diagnosed with leukaemia, it turns out to be – yes – a life-changing experience though, thankfully, not in the most clunkily obvious way. By far the best of the recent Young Adult Terminal Illness genre (The Fault In Our Stars, Me Before You…), Me And Earl… captures the painful awkwardness of late adolescence while largely avoiding the pitfalls of sentimentality.

It’s based on the book by Pittsburgh author Jesse Andrews and stays true to the novel’s setting, even so far as using the writer’s old school as a main location.

Schenley High School, 4101 Bigelow Boulevard, North Oakland, which had included artist Andy Warhol, actor Bill Nunn and jazz musician Ray Brown among its former students, was closed and about to be redeveloped into condominiums. While it stood empty, the production was able to take over the 1916 landmark building for filming.

Greg’s house, too, is Andrews’ real childhood home, 305 South Lang Avenue, Point Breeze.

The blue-collar neighbourhood of co-director and co-star Earl is Braddock. 6 Wood Street, Braddock, overlooked by the Edgar Thomson Steel Works.

Rachel’s surroundings couldn’t be more different. Among the cobblestone streets of Squirrel Hill, it’s 1035 Murray Hill Avenue.

Please remember, as always, these are private homes and don’t disturb local residents.

The DVD store is the Copacetic Comics Co, 3138 Dobson Street, generously stocked with movies from the ever-excellent Criterion Collection of classics.

Me And Earl And The Dying Girl filming location: The Corner, Robinson Street, Polish Hill, Pittsburgh
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl location: enjoying popsicles: The Corner, Robinson Street, Polish Hill, Pittsburgh | Photograph: Google Maps

The ice cream store outside which the three sit on the steps to enjoy tri-colour popsicles, is The Corner, 200 Robinson Street, in Polish Hill.

The inevitable featured hospital is a conflation of three separate locations.

The entrance, at which Greg arrives in the limo, is the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, 4401 Penn Avenue, in Lawrenceville.

The waiting area, with its view of the Italianate terracotta frontage of the Buhl Building in downtown Pittsburgh, is the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel, 510 Market Street.

Rachel’s hospital room was filmed on the top floor of Kane Regional Nursing Center, 300 Kane Boulevard, in Scott Township, which was temporarily vacant during renovations.