There is really no introduction needed for this book-to-screen adaptation because, as usual, everyone but me has seen it. Today I (finally) share my thoughts.
The Fault in Our Stars (2014) Story
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’s a miracle drug that gives her a few more years even as her lungs continue to limit her. 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 didn’t watch this until I’d read the novel and I must say, I’m glad.
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 lights up.
There is something of a timid quality to the setup of the story (or that is my opinion). Nothing seems as warm or endearing as the book portrays these characters, BUT. 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.‘THE FAULT IN OUR STARS’: Tears that Turn to ‘Okay’ #FWarchives #Movies Click To Tweet
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 lighthearted and maybe a little bit silly, because the tears you’ve cried will probably make you feel spent. 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), 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 they compliment each other nicely; and I cannot stress how much better the film ends than the book. Not because the script ends this differently, more because this final scene somehow makes the film “feel” more complete. There is a thread of hope that’s missing from the book and for that, the movie definitely gives the audience something to cling to.
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Content: 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. The film is PG-13.