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Films centering on teens dealing with terminal illnesses have come a long way in a relatively short time. Current young-adult audiences probably have no real memories of Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember, which featured Mandy Moore as a sheltered high school student with a year to live who attracts the attention of a hot young rebel (Shane West) and changes his life. Walk (one of the more affecting Sparks adaptations) set the stage for last year’s The Fault in Our Stars, another adaptation (this time from YA bestseller John Green). Now, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl from director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon wanders down quirkier indie backstreets in search of a tougher brand of healing. The “Me” of the title, played by up-and-comer Thomas Mann (Project X), is an aggressively anonymous high school senior with no plans for the future who so lacks interpersonal confidence that he refers to Earl (RJ Cyler), his best friend since first grade, as his co-worker. You might think you know what will happen when this emotionally stunted kid meets the “Dying Girl” (Olivia Cooke), but Gomez-Rejon aims for something more complex, especially in the film’s approach to its core audience, and surprises us with a degree of honesty that is wise and true. (PG-13) Grade: A