Friday Flicks: The Fault In Our Stars

It took me a long time to finally read John Green's bestselling novel, The Fault in Our Stars. My life was intimately touched by cancer a couple years ago, so I needed time to become emotionally ready to read the tragic tale. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the book was not the tear-jerking cancer story I feared it would be. Yes, it is about kid's with cancer, but the book is more a bittersweet once in a lifetime kind of love story. The genuine characters, sharp writing, and deeper questions of mortality and legacy made for a very strong novel.

Fortunately the film adaptation of the novel remains true to the book and manages to capture much of the magic from the text. The film follows Hazel (Shailene Woodley), a teenager who is fighting a terminal case of cancer. She is on an experimental medication that keeps her disease at bay, but she will eventually succumb to her illness. An only child, Hazel spends her days reading, attending college classes, or watching T.V. with her parents. At the insistence of her mother, Hazel finds herself at a weekly support group for critically ill teens.

It is at these meetings that Hazel meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a lanky, attractive, former high school basketball star who lost a leg to cancer. The two form an immediate connection, and we watch as their young love blossoms. They bond over Hazel's favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, and obsess about the book's ending, or lack thereof. Their curiosity leads them to contact the book's author, Peter Van Houten (Willem Defoe), and even travel to Amsterdam to visit with him. A plot twist near the end brings their entire relationship into question and forces the two to face realities neither of them are prepared for.

The two leading actors expertly portray the humor, angst, and wonder of two young people falling in love. The stellar performances by each member of the cast helps to elevate what could easily be a cheesy Lifetime Channel romance story into something more. Laura Dern as Hazel's overprotective mother, does a particularly fantastic job as a woman facing the possibility of losing her only daughter. Cancer is a difficult subject to talk about and can easily become morbid and cliche. This film approaches the subject with a respectful lightness and humor, making the tragic elements easier to stomach. There are a couple minor changes from the book, but none of them have a negative effect on the story. Fans of the novel will be pleased that this adaptation maintains the romance, hope, sadness and wit of Green's story.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 14, 2015 and is filed under ,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

2 Responses to “Friday Flicks: The Fault In Our Stars”

  1. I actually wasn't a huge fan of the book - even though I have known someone to suffer from and eventually die from cancer as well. But I did love the movie, because it took seemingly pretentious characters and cheesy lines, and made them not pretentious and not cheesy. The casting was wonderful and even though I am not a huge fan of the main male actor, I still think he did a brilliant job in his role here. The movie was amazing - better than the book in my opinion - and couldn't have done a better job!

    1. While I disagree about the book, I do agree that the movie worked mainly because of the actors' portrayal of the characters. They easily could have been pretentious generalizations, but they came off as genuine people.


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