Looking around me as the audience looks back, I realize I am outnumbered by the women around me. Some with shirts praising their love of the novel the film comes from. Others with tissue boxes, as they already assume it will be quite the emotional rollercoaster. But let me assure you, I’m not saying women are the only ones who will be emotionally affected by the film. I can admit my eyes welled up on occasion. It’s pretty obvious from the get-go that regardless of how well this story is told or not told, it will easily make an impression at the box office as it already has devoted fans lining up in anticipation for the film’s release June 6th. But let’s jump in to the review shall we?
It opens on our protagonist, Hazel (Shailene Woodley), as she lies in the grass, counting the stars, and telling us the dark reality of living with cancer at an early age. That it’s a struggle physically, mentally, and emotionally for not just you but your loved ones as well. Within her support group she soon meets Augustus (Ansel Elgort), who just can’t seem to stop staring at Hazel, completely entranced by her beauty and wit. And from there the two start to fall in love, as they support and care for each other and the battles they face due to their illness. As Augustus likes to say, “Pain demands to be felt.” Words that we can all relate to in times of anger, frustration, pain, sadness, etc. And boy does that pain come quick and heavy.
Augustus compliments Hazel and Hazel to Augustus in numerous ways. Augustus, or Gus for short, is a tad reckless and carefree. And why shouldn’t he be? Though he’s lost a half his leg from cancer, he’s alive and not letting it slow him down one bit. Hazel, or Hazel Grace as Gus likes to call her, is a tad more reserved and glum, but maintains her wit to the fullest. But together they both bring a sense of reality and appreciation to each other, which is what probably ignites their initial attraction.
The film has an interesting look and feel. It starts off with MTV movie vibes thanks to the extreme set lighting and colorful text popping up on the screen. Which is probably to mask the gloomy theme and play up the lighthearted fun and banter. But as the film progresses, and we start to become deeply invested with these characters, the film somehow shifts into a more grounded and genuine tone. One I can appreciate more fully. But I like that it transitions from one to the other and with such ease. With that said, the film still maintains an upbeat and clever attitude despite some minor, unavoidable cheese here and there.
What will easily be one element of the film that most should agree on is the fact that the film’s two stars own the screen. I really can’t stress this enough but Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort are are so incredibly charming but real. And they give us these characters that are so very immensely motivational yet relatable. Woodley has made her mark in the industry and continues to show growth and determination, as this might be her strongest performance yet. She’s clearly going to be working for a very long time. And newcomer Elgort, in his first major role as a lead, definitely makes a lasting impression. These two have nowhere to go but up much like the metaphorical rollercoaster Elgort’s character speaks of early on in the film. The rest of the cast fit their parts well including Nat Wolff who plays Isaac, their friend more broken over his ex-girlfriend than he is his cancer. There’s a cameo in the film that I don’t want to spoil but sure enough is another killer performance.
Director Josh Boone does a wonderful job capitalizing emotionally on the target audience and the soundtrack helps punch those emotions with heavy fists. I’m assuming from the consistent swoons heard in the audience that the film respects every little bit of the book. Boone, in his second feature first coming from the little indie “Stuck In Love” which also has familiar face Nat Wolff, will surely have quite the career after the film powers through it’s opening weekend and into the hearts of millions of teens and hell, even adults. Overall, the film is a winner and a strong representation of love and life and all the struggles that comes with it. Also, fun fact! Shailene Woodley also starred in another best-selling novel titled “Divergent” which has drawn comparison to the “Hunger Games” series. Perhaps as a nod of respect, Hazel owns the Hunger Games books as they sit among her collection in her room.
The Fault In Our Stars: [usr 4]
About The Fault In Our Stars
Synopsis: Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort) first meet in a cancer support group and almost instantaneously take us on a whimsical and emotional journey showing the world around them how to live and love. Based upon the number one bestselling novel by John Green.
Director: Josh Boone
Writers: Scott Neudstadter, Michael H. Weber, Jonn Green (book)
Stars: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammel
Runtime: 2 hours 5 minutes
Releases: June 6, 2014