Netflix A-Z: The Fault in our Stars (2014)

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)

The Fault in Our Stars

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

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.

The Fault in Our Stars

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.

the fault in our stars

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…

The Fault in Our Stars

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

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I’m definitely late to the party for The Fault in Our Stars and I’ve skimmed through a few reviews of John Green trying my best to avoid spoilers. All I know is that its about a girl living with cancer who falls in love with a boy.  Its supposed to be tear jerking and already adapted into a movie lead by Shailene Woodley.  That’s where I’m at with this book so clear mind, clear head going into this.  The deal with these sort of books is that I’m not sure what the depressing level is and sometimes, I’m just not in the mindset to do this especially since I do most of my reading in the morning on the bus.  Crying or being depressed isn’t exactly the way I’d like to start my work day, if you get what I mean. Anyways, I wanted to watch the movie and I really wanted to read this before seeing it so here I am, done after a few days.

The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. – Goodreads

 I had to put a lot of thought into how to write about The Fault in Our Stars.  I feel that a good bit of you out there who have read this probably liked this a lot more than I did.  Now, that isn’t to say that I didn’t like it.  The book was something different and I give my praise to it for being raw.  Its like getting punched in the gut kind of raw.  And it radiates a feeling that doesn’t really hit until you think about it.  The metaphors John Green uses with stars and constellations and just how deep and simple life actually really is especially if you’ve seen it as you live every day blessed that you are still alive but really not so happy that you are causing so much pain around you.  Its a dramatic life.  I get all that.  I’d lie if I said that my eyes didn’t get all teary as I read a few of the parts.

the fault in our stars

The Fault in Our Stars couldn’t help but be a little predictable in the actual story.  You know that was where it was going.  You knew the outcome of Augustus and Hazel.  There was no escaping the eventuality of it.  It was just staring at us in the face even before it was announced officially.  Still, John Green does a good job at making us attached to Hazel and Augustus and what they have.  Its poetically and dramatically beautiful.  So look, I thought The Fault in Our Stars in a great book.  Perfect? Not so much.  At one point, it reminded me of the billion of Korean dramas out there.  If you’ve seen at least one of them, you know what I mean.  Its kind of a spoiler, I guess if you know nothing so highlight if you want to see what I mean. Someone always ends up getting cancer or some terminal disease after the couple finally So yeah.  I saw it coming a mile away.  Maybe you did too.

The Fault in Our Stars

 And maybe that’s why I felt a little not sure how to write this because as much it should hit hard, it didn’t hit me as much initially.  Now thats where I guess my thoughts change a little.  As I tried to work out the thoughts for this review, even now, a good few days later, I eventually sat down and started talking it out to my boyfriend even if he knew nothing about it and I realized that what touched me was not necessarily Hazel and Augustus but rather the whole concept of the tragic love.  The idea that life is taken away before they could have more time being in love or just being more and doing more meaningful things or making a mark in the world but then how these two characters live completely aware of that and most of time accepting the fact of that and eventually enjoying more of life because of that.  They live being as honest as they can to themselves, trying to make the most of their time and seeking out the answers they can.   Because of what they’ve lived through and live with, it makes their life more profound and it lets them see more than we do.  

the fault in our stars

I guess the idea is that the the fragility of life through the idea of Augustus and Hazel makes us see how we should be grateful for the days we have.  The beauty of our world is really what we make of it.  The fact that these two young ones are able to be so brave and strong for each other, especially through the words of John Green and his metaphors, we get hit with some raw feelings and thats what hits hard.  Not the story about falling in love because its in how you make it connect to the reader.  For me, the after effect of The Fault in our Stars lingering my mind was a lot more than while I was reading it.  While I appreciated the words and the description and each and every character in The Fault in Our Stars, I couldn’t help but feel that the story wasn’t perfect.  Or maybe thats how its supposed to feel at the end: a little empty, a tad hurt and desiring that there was a little more. I really don’t know…

I gave this a 4 out of 5 on Goodreads so yes, I really liked it.  What striked me more about The Fault in our Stars was the fragility of life and those bittersweet moments and not really their love story.

***Updated: After the review went up, as I was updating Goodreads, I had given this more thought and felt that my original 3.5 bumping to 4 was an overstatement so I dropped it back to 3 out of 5.***

 Have you read The Fault in Our Stars? What are your thoughts on it?