The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars
Director: Josh Boone
Writers: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, John Green
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Willem Dafoe, Lotte Verbeek, Ana Dela Cruz, Randy Kovitz, Toni Saladna, David Whalen, Milica Govich, Allegra Carpenter, Emily Peachey, Emily Bach
Synopsis: Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel's other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language
9.8 / 10
- Excellent script
- Solid acting performances from Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort
- Direction was pretty good
- Characters were handled very well
- The film suffers from a few pacing issues, as some scenes tend to drag on longer than they should.
Arguably the hardest film review that I ever had to write...
As many of my readers know, I've reviewed a lot of films that have either touched me in such a way that I can't help but feel emotionally invested into them, or some will simply leave me at a loss for words. However, in the case of "The Fault in Our Stars", I have to say this'll probably be the hardest review that I've ever had to write.
Without going into too much detail, I too had someone that was very close to me that suffered from cancer. I won't say her name here, as I would hate to embarrass her. However, we were both very close. We were practically inseparable at one time, but we had a bit of a falling out. We both made mistakes that we regret, and we slowly drifted apart. However, the reality is that when her cancer got worse, I wasn't there for her when she needed me. However, I won't bore a lot of my readers with the details of that particular situation, as I'm merely trying to explain why reviewing this film is hard for me to write about. However, like all professionals, I'm going to put those personal issues aside in order to get the job done.
"The Fault in Our Stars" is based on the popular novel of the same name, and it was written by popular youtube celebrity vlogger (aka Video Blogger), John Green. The story centers around a young girl named Hazel (Shailene Woodley), who suffers from cancer, as she's forced to carry around an oxygen tank 24/7 to breath. Needless to say, she's grown quite cynical about her situation, but she's still able to crack a joke or two when conversing with her peers.
Like all parents, Hazel's mother and father worry about her emotional state of mind all the time, as they encourage her to participate in various cancer support groups. It's there that she meets other people, who suffer from cancer as well. Together they all talk about their problems with their condition, their hopes, their dreams and how they come to adapt to their current predicament.
In one particular group meeting, she happens to meet a young man around her age by the name of Gus (Ansel Elgort), who suffers from cancer as well as he even has a prosthetic leg to prove it. Unlike Hazel, he seems surprisingly optimistic about his condition, with a great thirst for life. In fact, his only real flaw is that he has this warped perception that the only way his life will have any meaning is if he becomes famous like Albert Einstein, Elvis Presley or someone along those lines.
Like most movies that feature a couple that are polar opposites in terms of personality, the two form a bond that eventually leads to them sharing an unexpected romance between them. Gus' eternal optimism inspires hope to Hazel's situation, and helps her grow a new appreciation for life. While Hazel's down to earth jaded view on the world, helps keep Gus' optimism from bordering along the lines of being unrealistic. In a strange way, they both balance each other out, as it's easy to see why both would end up falling in love with one another. But like most tragic love stories, this one is not without a sad ending.
I won't spoil it for readers, but if you've seen a lot of tragic love stories in the past, then you should have a general idea on how this one plays out. "The Fault in Our Stars" isn't for the faint of heart, as this is probably one of the saddest love stories that I've ever seen.
Not only are the characters written rather well to reflect the confines and harshness of reality, but it also portrays how even during tragedy itself that there can always be a little bit of hope to brighten our days along the way. It's a touching love story to say the least, as I can see why this film has garnered so much love and attention upon it's theatrical release.
The acting performances are nothing short of amazing. Shailene Woodley plays her part rather well, as she brings a certain level of sassiness and vulnerability to the role that makes her character all the more interesting to watch. As for Ansel Elgort, he may come off as the stereotypical perfect boyfriend in the first act of this film, but we soon find out that there might be more to this character than we previously anticipated; which makes his character very relatable. Showing that even though he can be a supportive and nice guy most of the time, but we're also shown that he too can succumb to his own fears and insecurities like the rest of us can at times.
Of course, let's not forget about Willem Defoe's performance as he plays a cynical author of one of Hazel's favorite books. When we first meet his character, we're immediately given the impression that he's a cynical one dimensional jerk, but we find out later on that behind that jerkish persona lies a broken man that suffers from his own personal demons early on in life.
Unlike most Hollywood cliched films, this one portrays it's characters in a realistic light, where none of them are perfect. All of them have their distinct flaws, and fears about life. Yet, each one of them has their own good qualities as well. Even Willem Defoe's character shows us later on that he's a good person at heart, but he simply allowed a tragedy in his life to turn him into a bitter and cold hearted person over the years.
Outside of the movie dragging a few times, "The Fault in Our Stars" is probably one of the best tragic love stories that I've ever seen. It not only has heart, but it also shows audiences that even when things are at their worst that there can always be a brief moment of happiness as well to brighten our days.
Although I doubt I'll ever want to see this movie again for personal reasons, but that shouldn't discourage anyone else from seeing it. "The Fault in Our Stars" is a great love story, and it's definitely worth checking out if you're into movies of this ilk.
© 2014 Steven Escareno
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