Director: Josh Boone
Stars: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell and Willem Dafoe
Based on the popular book by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars is a love story between two teenagers who meet in a cancer support group. Hazel (Woodley) is a cynical young woman who basically feels that she’s dying a slow death and there’s almost too much time left. Augustus (Elgort) is a survivor who’s upbeat, and determined to make his mark on the world. As their relationship deepens and takes them on a quest around the world, Hazel begins to realize that all the time in the world wouldn’t be enough.
I haven’t read the book and I missed it the first time around in cinemas, but I managed to catch it yesterday as my local cinema ran it again. I wasn’t sure whether I would like it because I usually find movies about cancer hit or miss, but I really enjoyed this one. I was immersed in Hazel and Gus’ story and the movie felt long, but in a good way. The actors had great chemistry and Hazel especially was a strong character who had her own opinions and didn’t allow others to impose their will upon her. Gus I thought was a weaker character, he just seemed to be a stereotypical template for Hazel to fall in love with, that is until the end of the movie where we see his more vulnerable side.
Their relationship was sweet and progressed naturally, with both of them having to deal with the conditions and what it meant for them, and the natural fear of giving yourself to someone. I especially like how it blossomed in Amsterdam, although I’m not sure that making out in Anne Frank’s attic would garner applause in the real world. The reason they go to Amsterdam is to track down a reclusive author (Dafoe) who wrote Hazel’s favourite book. He’s also fairly stereotypical; a difficult, abrasive writer and it’s strange to think why he even bothered responding to them in the first place. I suppose it may have been done in a fit of drunken glee.
The main problem I have with The Fault in Our Stars is that it starts out by saying something like, “This is a love story, but it’s not like in the movies, this is the truth,” well, you know what, you are a movie. I hate when movies purport to be real life, no, you’re a movie and you’re always going to be a movie. Stop trying to be cute and clever, and it’s a stupid sentiment anyway because not all love stories in movies end up happily. The only other thing I was a little disappointed by is that Hazel and Gus exchange books but we only ever hear about what Gus thinks of the book Hazel gave him. It’s only a little thing but it would have been nice.
Those criticisms aren’t enough to harm my overall enjoyment of the film, however. I was engaged from start to finish. It was heartwarming, heartbreaking, and Woodley was outstanding in the role. An excellent film.