We’re at F selection today. I’m going to be honest here and say that I was not very enthusiastic about The Fault in Our Stars novel. That book was pretty much an American version of a typical Korean TV drama. It had all the factors needed. I kind of saw where it was going. It is a very bittersweet story and tragic for all the reasons and pretty raw because it emphasizes the being young and sick and it just aims to punch you in the gut with all the worse feelings. Still, it is incredibly quotable and I can get why its popular. I just didn’t feel it as much while I was reading it. For that reason, I was a little hesitant to give this one a shot but here we are!
Let’s check it out! 🙂
The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
Director: Josh Boone
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Engort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Willem Dafoe, Lotte Verbeek
Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is a teenage girl who is surviving with an experimental drug that controls her cancer that has weakened her lungs. Her parents and physician suspect that she has depression and sends her to a support group. Reluctant to go at first, she ends up meeting Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), an eighteen year old boy who has been clear of cancer with the loss of a part of his leg. Augustus and Hazel start to see each other and become increasingly attracted to each other. However, Hazel tries her best to keep her distance because she knows that her life and how long she is alive is completely out of her control. Augustus fully understands this because he has gone through this situation as well however, their determination for finding the answers to a book and seeking out the author (Willem Dafoe) makes pulls them together as they find a way to vacation to Amsterdam.
The Fault in our Stars is far better as a movie than it is as a novel. I’m telling you this because as I thought about The Fault in Our Stars again before watching the movie and even a few weeks before that, I had dropped my Goodreads rating by one star. Its not that I hate the book but there was a lot of room for improvement. The movie has something different going for it. Its a tragic teen love story lead by a really good cast, one that other than Sam Trammell I’ve seen recently, none of them have been in any movies I’ve seen of late. As a matter of fact, this is the first movie I’ve seen of Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, the young leads here. As for Laura Dern, who plays Hazel’s mom, I haven’t seen her since Jurassic Park 3 probably. Still, a story like this one is only good with a cast that can represent it well and they did. It even had Willem Dafoe as a supporting character who is the author they track down that was pretty significant to the story.
Maybe its a little weird but I liked how they portrayed the texts instead of just a voice over or a pause on a cell phone screen, it uses these cute little message boxes that pop in and out as they talk. The typography they use makes it feel young and fun. I mean, its those little moments, right? These two teenagers are plagued with sickness and suffer at a young age never really knowing how long they will live. They make a point that Hazel is actually quite the opposite of Augustus because she appreciates what she has now while he strives to be remembered by everyone. And its their personality that Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort bring to Hazel and Augustus that makes this movie more colorful. The pain feels more deep and the sweet young love resounds strongly allowing us the chance to fall in love with their characters in all their bittersweet, sarcastic, overly philosophical way. To justify that a little, when the movie started, I kind of didn’t really like that whole smug look that Augustus had but it seemed to be effective and fit his character as we learned more about him. That, my friends, is what I call character development and why I appreciate this movie more than the book primarily. And its also why when things wrapped up in the finale, I got a little teary. Nothing like bawling or anything, just a few tears.
I’ve pretty much shown that I enjoyed this movie for what it is. But then, I’ve always liked stories like this so it was surprising to me when I didn’t enjoy its source material so much. However, there is one part that I found like should have been in. More like a quote. Maybe the director wanted to keep it as something for the audience to understand but its the exact quote in the book that shows why this story is called The Fault in our Stars. I think its a pretty important factor. Maybe its lame when we need to put it so in our faces but that quote was one of my faves in the book. I added it to my book review but here it is again, just to make it feel more complete…
Overall, The Fault in Our Stars touched me much more as a movie than its original source. It is a rare occurrence and maybe some of you might disagree. But what makes this a good movie is that I knew exactly what was going to happen and the story wasn’t anything special but these two young actors, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort in their roles as Hazel and Augustus convinced me that this story was great. Their characters and their development and just how they were able to show all those emotions of teens burdened with cancer, uncertain with life, falling in love and all the ups and downs reached out to me and tugged on my heartstrings just a little (and some parts a little more).
Have you seen and/or read The Fault in Our Stars? What are your thoughts?
Any guesses on what G movie will be? Hint: Inspirational/Music