The Fault in our Stars (2014) – Tears that Turn to ‘Okay’

October 15, 2014

There is really no introduction needed for this
book-to-screen adaptation because, as usual, everyone
but me has seen it. It just happens to be the day in which I decided
to put thoughts to paper and then publish said thoughts on the blog. 

The story
introduces us to the now-famous characters of Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) and Hazel Grace
Lancaster (Shailene Woodley), two teenagers who have both been diagnosed with cancer
and lived with different results. Gus lost his leg to his “touch of cancer,” and for a year and a half has been healthy. Hazel has never been anything but
terminal. Only there was a miracle drug that bought her a few more years even
as her lungs continue to limit what she can do. These two meet in a cancer
support group, which sets in motion an extraordinary adventure no one will
soon forget.

Knowing where to start proves to be a challenge as regards
this story. It’s something you’ll adore or hate (speaking in terms of an
adaptation), which is one reason that makes the movie difficult to review and
form coherent thoughts for. Another reason being, anyone that has an aversion to sad,
sometimes uncomfortable stories will probably wish they’d never seen this.
Fortunately, like the good reader I am, I held off watching this (even with the
pretty DVD cover sitting on my bookshelf staring at me) until I’d read the
novel and I must say, as always, I’m pleased I did. 

Even afterwards, the film sat unwatched for a period of time which on reflection is actually good; it
allowed some “separation” between the two “versions” that I probably wasn’t
aware was needed. Where the first half of the book is the strength that carries
the entire story, the film is the opposite – it’s in the latter half when
everything comes alive and lights up. 

…I can not tell you how thankful I am, for our little infinity. You gave me a forever, within the numbered days. And for that I am… I am eternally grateful. – The Fault in our Stars

There is something of a timid quality to the setup of the
story (or that is my opinion). Nothing seemed as warm or endearing as the book
portrayed these characters, then Hazel and Gus bond, use a wish to go to
Amsterdam and beautiful memories are made. It’s in these moments and beyond
that the movie shows its best talents; and going where rarely any movie or book has, made me cry! Naturally, the casting is
phenomenal. Shailene lives up to the praise she is earning and this film does a
splendid job expanding on Hazel’s parents; Laura and Sam played them
wonderfully! I enjoyed so many of the scenes with her parents, including the
all-to-short and only scene of Hazel and her father talking about Gus.

Unlike others on my shelf, this is not a movie I will watch
dozens of times. You finish this and immediately want to pop in
something else that’s lighthearted and maybe just a little bit silly, because
the tears you’ve cried will probably make you feel spent – and seriously, this
film has that kind of effect on most people. The story gives us two
characters from the young adult and teen fiction scene who go against every
stereotype there is – both of them are understandably mature (three cheers for less drama as a result) – made so by
life, delightful characters, who just happen to be hard to forget.

If you look for messages in this story, you’ll find some. It’s the kind of story that has multiple personalities ingrained in the heart. It’s charming one minute with its unforgettable journey, making you laugh
with the characters finding joy in the small things and then tug at your
heartstrings, break your heart and downright scare you with its realization of life being a fleeting thing. Usually I
would say the film is better because, yes, I clearly like to be different. But
in this case, I’m torn. 

Like I said there is a halfway mark in the book and
film, so perhaps comingled they compliment each other nicely – and I cannot say
how much better the film ends than the book. Not because the scripter ended
this differently, more because this final scene somehow served to make the film
“feel” more complete. There is a thread of hope that was missing from the source material and for that, the movie definitely gives the audience something to cling to.

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can rent or own The Fault in our Stars digitally on Amazon Video or own on DVD.  

(Rated PG13
because… there is some profanity like sh*t and abuse of God’s name, and one use
of the f-word. Two characters end up in bed together – we see them kissing and
partially undress each other before the camera cuts to an “after” scene of the
two lying in bed together, bare legs and chests with sheets placed over them.
There are some innuendoes and crude gestures to anatomy, and there is one make
out scene that is played for laughs.)


  • Shannon

    October 15, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Loved the movie, annoyed with how choppy it was, could have been 2hr 20 mins like so many movies now and included everything. If you watch the 5 minutes of deleted scenes the movie flows better. We have the uncut one that includes all of those but like 2 I think. Then we watched those 2 and was like aww, now it's perfect. I didn't ugly cry like I do reading the book but did cry. I laughed at the "Always" scene that I think you mentioned as the make out scene for laughs. My daughter loves Nat Wolff and so we watched an interview with him. He said he was so embarrassed to film that scene since he had just meet her 10 mins. before.

    1. Rissi

      October 15, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      I guess I didn't notice the choppiness, Shannon… or maybe that's what I didn't like about the first half… hmmm…!? I don't get the deleted scenes now since I haven't bought a BluRay player, but I do own the combo version so once I get a player, I can watch them. :)

      I loved that John Green used "okay" as Hazel and Gus' "always," it was quirky and sweet – and oh my goodness! That did have to be awkward to film that scene barely knowing the actress. Huh. ;)

  • Leah

    October 15, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    You read it!!!! Yay! What a coincidence, I just posted something about TFIOS last night. Great review and very thorough as usual!

    1. Rissi

      October 15, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      I did indeed, Leah – and yay! Now I am off to read your post, girl. Cannot wait. And as always, thank you for reading. :)

  • Jillian

    October 15, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Fabulous review! I enjoyed the movie but like you said, I don't know if I would watch it again. It's just so depressing, and I'd rather watch happier, more uplifting films. However, I thought the directors did a great job with the book-to-movie adaptation.

    1. Rissi

      October 15, 2014 at 11:16 pm

      Hi, Jillian! Thank you for reading; I'm glad you stopped by.

      I so wanted to watch something lighter after this, but since I watched the second half late at night, I had to deal. ;) Like you, I thought the adaptation was lovely as well – and am glad to have seen the film.

  • Rachel Hoyt

    October 16, 2014 at 12:58 am

    I'd never thought of that, but I definitely agree. I think the tone of the ending of the movie is a good one. No, it's not one I'll watch over and over again just because it's exhausting (same with reading the book), but it was a good adaptation.

    1. Rissi

      October 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      Ditto on not watching it over and over – I really wanted to watch something happy after this. But I didn't. And yes, this is exhausting; there is a nice wit to it because of Gus and Hazel's unique humor, but yikes! It also is too depressing to be the "best" movie for me. :)

      Thanks for reading, Rachel.

  • Sarah

    October 17, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Very good review, Rissi! :) I'm one of those "the book is always better" people, and I hold to that with this story, but it came impressively close! The film had some strong points that were weaker in the book (but then vice versa as well) and I really enjoyed watching it being acted out so wonderfully well. They did leave out some little parts from the book, though, that weren't necessary for the overall plot or anything, but when added up made the book more profound to me. You're so right about the effect it has on you — I was in a kind of daze for a long time after reading, and watching!

    1. Rissi

      October 17, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      Hi, Sarah – good to see you over here and thank you so much. I enjoyed writing this up. :)

      Oddly enough, I'm the opposite in that usually I like the film better or just as well (weird, I know), but maybe it's because I prefer the visualization of the story…? I'm not sure, either way, it doesn't take away my joy of reading the book first then seeing the film. I agree; I ADORED the first 1/2 of the book, but felt the latter half dragged and vise versa with the movie. The acting is fantastic and while still sad, the ending in the movie felt more complete, which I loved.

      Thanks for sharing, Sarah – I enjoyed reading your comment. :)

  • Tressa S

    October 17, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Haven't read the book or watched this one yet. The book has been on my tbr for forever. I just knew it was a sad story and wasn't sure I wanted to read it. I will, but I may just watch the movie before I get to the book. We'll see. I'm glad you said this one ended well. I'll have to see what I think.

    1. Rissi

      October 17, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      It IS sad, Tressa, though I will confess the first half of the book is delightful in comparison to my expectations – it's whimsical and sweet. The movie doesn't end differently in terms of the ultimate outcome (sad!), it just seemed more "complete" and because of that, there was a breath of hope in that a character was going to be "okay." :)

  • Bekah M.

    October 18, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    "anyone that has an aversion to sad, sometimes uncomfortable stories will probably wish they’d never seen this"

    This made me laugh as it's SO true! My two older sisters and I went to go see this movie while it was in theaters and forgot to bring tissues (despite all of us reminding each other about ten times). Needless to say, we looked disastrous coming out! Eyes puffy and red… lol. Which is why I have a hard time deciding if I will see it again, like you said.

    This review is perfect! :) So happy to read your thoughts on this one… thanks for sharing!

    1. Rissi

      October 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Thanks, Bekah – I feel that VERY strongly too. Or as someone else once coined their crying with TFIOS as "ugly crying." That probably fits for most of us. ;)

      I'll likely watch it again… someday, I'll just be sure I have time to watch something happy afterwards… even if it's an episode of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. ;)

      Thank YOU for reading. Always happy to get your thoughts. :)

  • Mrs. Pedersen

    October 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    I read the book a while back, and while I can't say it was a "favorite read", I did enjoy it. Green did a great job of bringing to life a very painful story. I thought they did a pretty good job with the movie, but the ending seemed a bit rushed. Not one I woud watch again, though. :|

    1. Rissi

      October 21, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      Great thoughts, Heather. I'm glad you did enjoy the book and movie. Oddly enough, I though the movie's ending seemed more "complete" than the book – cannot say why, but it's just a thought I had. I agree; not sure I'll rewatch this one… or certainly not much. Who knows! ;)

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