The Fault in Our Stars

Shailene Woodley and Ansol Elgort in The Fault in Our Stars. (Twentieth Century Fox)
Shailene Woodley and Ansol Elgort in The Fault in Our Stars. (Twentieth Century Fox)
What it's about:

Hazel and Gus are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on an unforgettable journey.

Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.

The movie explores the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love.

What we thought:

Let me start off with a quote in a feature article I recently wrote about why you should read The Fault in Our Stars before you see the movie:

"...there are books...which you can't tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal."

There’s been a lot of hype about the movie. And judging by its box office performance so far (it’s been outperforming most of the movies showing in the US alone right now), it seems as if the mania around the movie has been quite justified.

For the most part, I made a point of avoiding any articles, features and reviews about it (with the exception of watching the trailer) as I wanted to go in with only my experience of the book.

For me, the craze surrounding this movie felt exactly like people were whoring out their affection for the movie (hence the abovementioned quote).

Having said that, I can now tell you that the movie is more than worth watching.

Not only that, but if you’ve read the book, you’ll be thrilled to know that the film adaptation remains pretty true to the book and is just as gut-wrenching and heart-breaking as the novel.  

Admittedly, I found it rather bizarre to see Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley - who played the role of brother and sister in another recent blockbuster hit Divergent - cast in the lead roles, but quickly got over my misgivings once the movie progressed.

The Fault in Our Stars is at once charming, quirky and devastating.

It’s the kind of movie that will have you believing in the ridiculousness and romanticism of love, while also being brutally blunt in its reminder that life is filled with heartache and tragedy.

Ansel Elgort shines in his role as the adorable, albeit smart and cocky wiseass, Augustus Waters, while Shailene Woodley’s portrayal as Hazel Lancaster is tinged with a poignancy that really shines through during the most harrowing moments of the movie.

What took a while getting used to was the dialogue.

While the characters in the book speak with voices that are much older than their actual age, something which worked incredibly well in the book, I’m not quite sure that it worked as well for the movie.

For me, it felt almost as if the characters were performing a recitation, which resulted in moments of stilted awkwardness. It’s not all bad though; the times when the interactions between Hazel and Guz impress most are when their exchanges are sweet, sappy, playful and heartbreaking.

I adored the clever little speech bubbles that pop up on the screen when the two of them text each other; a device which gives the movie a rather manic pixie-ish vibe, which is rather appropriate considering that I view Hazel as being someone that falls into that category.

The settings of the movie (a good portion of the movie is set in Amsterdam as Hazel, Gus and her mother make the trip to meet Hazel’s all time favourite author), along with the musical backdrop (the music is absolutely exquisite by the way), also gives the movie that bohemian vibe that reminds me of the movie, Amelie.     

It’s here that love collides and bursts into full bloom until the impending doom of tragedy sets in. You’ll be on a rollercoaster ride of laughter, tears and more tears. The supporting characters (Isaac, Gus’s friend for example), shine just as brightly, but it’s really Hazel and Gus’s story that will stay with you the longest.

The Fault in Our Stars, while not perfect, is a beautiful rendition, one that’s worth seeing and one that will satisfy most lovers of the book.

Do yourselves a favour and go watch it. But don’t forget to take tissues with. You’re going to need them.

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