Director: Josh Boone
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Nat Wolff
Release Date (US): 6th June, 2014
Company: 20th Century Fox
“The only thing worse than biting it from cancer is having a kid bite it from cancer.” – Hazel Grace Lancaster
The Fault In Our Stars is the big screen adaptation of the popular young novel written by author John Green. Directed by Josh Boone (Stuck In Love), the movie stars Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now) as the story’s heroine, Hazel Grace. Stricken with cancer at a young age, Hazel has accepted the inevitable in her mind, finding little pleasure in leading an ordinary life she knows will eventually be curtailed. That is, until she meets a kindred spirit in Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort, Divergent) at her cancer support group.
Regardless of how the fans, actors and even characters in the movie may feel about the matter, The Fault In Our Stars is very much a ‘love story’ – one that also happens to be honest, witty and feel genuinely real. Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber (500 Days Of Summer) successfully translate John Green’s beloved source material from page to screen. Despite claims that it loses a little of the magic, the book’s unique tone still shines through.
Never solely relying on its cheek and dark humour, the film also packs an emotional punch. The characters and relationships they have with one another are never over-dramatised or superficial in the vein of a typical Hollywood romance. The film-makers successfully manage to make you care about these people, and the ups and downs of their day to day lives. The end product is a joyfully depressing emotional roller coaster.
“I fell in love with him the way you fall asleep: Slowly, and then all at once.” – Hazel Grace Lancaster
The success and appeal of this young adult adaptation always rested on the performance of its two leads. Recent Hollywood efforts in the young adult genre have focused on characters that are either arrogant or emotionally vapid. Augustus and Hazel are almost the antithesis of this. Woodley is a revelation as the latter, continuing to show her versatility and incredible acting chops with, arguably, her most mature performance yet. While it may not be for this role in particular, there’s an Oscar in her future.
If Woodley is the star, Ansel Elgort is the surprise act. Not content with lurking his talented co-star’s shadow, Elgort delivers one of the most complete and relatable portrayals of a teenage boy in years. Laura Dern (Enlightened) is the pick of the supporting cast as Hazel’s mother – capturing the turbulent range of emotions suffered by a parent of a cancer-striker child. Nat Wolff (Stuck In Love) is another surprise package, while Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man) steals the show in every scene he is in.
Direction & Tone
Given the widespread adoration for the original novel, director Josh Boone handles the pressure well to deliver an adaptation that’s largely been received with open arms – from both fans and critics alike. Of course it’s sentimental, but it never gets too cartoony or over the top. Everything feels real – whether it’s the romance, the drama, the comedy or the characters themselves. That’s what makes it so touching to watch in the first place.
- We should probably talk about the elephant in the room here. I’m a 20-year-old guy. I’m not supposed to have enjoyed this film. I don’t really care. I thought it was great.
- I haven’t read the book (although I’ve heard it’s even better), but I did stumble across a dark corner of the internet while looking this story up. What was it, you ask? The John Green Tumblr community. *Shudders*.
- To any of my friends reading this: I’m still the same guy… this doesn’t have to change anything… please still talk to me…
- From The Descendants to The Spectacular Now to The Fault In Our Stars, Shailene Woodley is the people’s champion of emotional indie movies. Next up for her? The Spectacular Fault In Our Descendants.
Thanks to a pair of truly excellent leading performances from Shailene Woodley and Anselt Elgort, The Fault In Our Stars hits all the right notes – both dramatically and comedically. It’s easily one of the most heartfelt and emotional films of the year.
Result: “Very Good”