As much as I hate to admit it, Tumblr has this incredible knack for influencing things I watch and read (see: Supernatural), so when I began seeing poster art for this upcoming movie, I was super annoyed with the number of times this showed up on my dash. Googling it told me it was a YA book about romance between two cancer patients, and I kind of rolled my eyes and forgot about it, because it sounded cliche. Then one boring Sunday, I downloaded it to my Kindle, and about two paragraphs in, I was hooked.
Tumblr didn’t ONCE mention the tears.
A few weeks later, the trailer debuted and that compilation of a minute and a half clips made my eyes well up with fat, Miyazaki sized tears. I resigned myself to the fact I’d be crying in public, and waited for the wide release, so I could see how much the movie deviated from the witty source material. From this point on, please be aware there are spoilers!
Fortunately for fans of the book, the movie stayed relatively faithful, deviating only when it came to the story of Augustus’ previous girlfriend, his struggles with his parents, and the sweet outcome for the sad swing set.
Right away, you are pulled into the story, narrated in parts by Woodley’s husky voice, and it’s overwhelming, this very real awareness of life and death. For those of you unfamiliar, The Fault In Our Stars is centered around Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 17-year-old with cancer, who has accepted how her life is in every way. Content with re-reading her favorite book and drowning in reality television, she begrudgingly obliges to her mother’s request she attend a support group. She eventually meets Isaac, a dry humored boy with eye cancer, and Augustus Waters, a charming, one-legged survivor of osteosarcoma, who cannot keep his eyes off of her. From here, you can guess that he falls in love with her, and she, knowing her cancer could take her at any minute, refuses to be more than friends, wanting to “limit the casualties” when she succumbs. This is actually where the movie shines, as you forget about the cancer part, and realize these are regular teen experiences they’re having, and it’s sort of nostalgic in its feel as the two fall in love.
Woodley and Elgort shine wonderfully in their roles as Hazel and Gus, perfectly realizing their book counterparts, something fans will definitely appreciate. Of course the moment you’re swept up in their love during their trip to Amsterdam, the hammer falls, and they can no longer hide the inevitable.
Augustus reveals to Hazel that his cancer has returned and his recent scan “lit up like a Christmas tree,” and it’s a series of moving scenes, and speeches, particularly Hazel’s eulogy and the Last Good Day. Pain demands to be felt, indeed.
I didn’t really notice the soundtrack much, maybe because I was busy stealing tissues from the sobbing person next to me, but the one tune that stuck out was a soft, folksy sounding rock song, but nothing noteworthy (haha, did you see my pun).
There really isn’t some deep message to the movie (or the book for that matter), and I think it steers away from most cheap manipulation tactics seen in cancer movies to make you cry, but you will probably leave dehydrated. I certainly did.
Film Review: The Fault In Our Stars
MPAA Rated PG-13. Running time: 125 mins
Directed by Josh Boone; written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, based on the novel by John Green; director of photography, Ben Richardson; edited by Robb Sullivan; music by Mike Mogis and Nathaniel Walcott; production design by Molly Hughes; costumes by Mary Claire Hannan; produced by Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen; released by 20th Century Fox.
WITH: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern , Sam Trammell, Nat Wolff, and Willem Dafoe.