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Movie Review of The Fault in Our Stars the movie starring Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Gus (2014)

Updated on February 4, 2019
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Nyesha loves writing about cooking/recipes, restaurants, movies, weddings, and poetry.

Movie review of The Fault in Our Stars (2014 movie)


The Fault in Our Stars movie review

The Fault in Our Stars Movie Review

In the movie, The Fault in Our Stars, a seventeen year old girl named Hazel and an eighteen year old boy named Augustus Waters, nicknamed Gus, are both dying of cancer. The girl meets the boy while he is in remission from cancer but the cancer later returns.

  • The girl and boy meet at a support group being held in a church basement.
  • Lifting his pants, the boy reveals to the group that one of his legs has been amputated due to the cancer.

Also notable in the group is one of the boy’s close buddies who is facing blindness due to his condition. (He is happy to have a girlfriend but she breaks up with him when she can’t ‘handle’ his going blind. Hazel and Gus comfort him after the break up. Before the break up, Gus’s friend and his girlfriend frequently had a way of saying “always” to each other. As Hazel and Gus grow in affection toward each other, they often say “ok”. One day during a conversation on the phone, Gus tells Hazel “Perhaps ‘ok’ will be our 'always'." Hazel says "Ok.” Their flirtation is very cute and charming. )

Perhaps 'ok' will be our 'always'.

— Gus to Hazel

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars portrays a dismal and harrowing scenario of ill and terminally ill teenagers who are reaching to live life to the fullest before they pass away.

  • The seventeen year old girl named Hazel and played by the actress Shailene Woodley is the only child of devoted, protective and well attached parents.
  • They have witnessed her battling severe illness since she was thirteen years old. She almost died at thirteen but endured on with experimental treatments.

There was a point in time when she was thirteen years old and in her hospital bed and seemingly fading away. Her mother said, “It’s ok. You can let go.” as Hazel’ s eyes began to close. Her mother cried on her father’s shoulder, saying “I won’t be a mother anymore.” Hazel lived through the moment but never forgot these words.

Later on, at seventeen years old, it is resolved in one poignant scene where her mother acknowledges that even after Hazel passes away due to her terminal illness, she will always be her mother. Hazel’s mother reassures her that she won’t just stare at blank walls when Hazel is no longer there to take care of. She has enrolled in courses for social work and wants to help other families in crisis situations. Hazel is happy to hear the news of her mother enrolling in social work classes.

It's ok. You can let go.

— Hazel's Mom to Hazel when she almost died at thirteen years old.

A favorite book

Hazel spends a lot of her time reading and re-reading one book in particular among her favorites. It is a book about a protagonist that knows what it feels like to be dying but does not die as Hazel puts it.

  • She is obsessed with frivolous details of the plot of the book just to further illustrate her passion for the book’s overall content and how it has influenced and inspired her in her own condition.
  • She has gone as far as to write letters to the author of the book and they have gone unanswered.

Ultimately, it is through Hazel’s burgeoning friendship with Gus (played by actor Ansel Elgort) that contact with the book’s author is finally made. Gus tries email instead postal mail and is able to receive a response. Hazel can hardly believe it.

A wish granted by the genies

The author of the book that Hazel treasures lets her and Gus know that they are welcome to visit his home and discuss the book further if they are ever in Amsterdam, where he resides.

As pediatric patients with terminal illnesses, Hazel and Gus have both benefited from “genies” that grant wishes. Hazel is relentlessly teased by Gus for having used her wish years ago to go to Disney World. He says that he can’t believe that he has a crush on a girl that would do something so profoundly “cliché”. In her own defense, Hazel says that she was young at the time and the trip to Disney World was a lot of fun for her.

Gus lets her know that he still has his travel wish from the benefactors or wish granting “genies” saved. He basically encourages her to hold her horses because he won’t be giving her his wish. He’s got a crush on her but he isn’t quite that generous. Nevertheless, he does eventually share his wish with her as they make plans to visit Amsterdam together.

Traveling to Amsterdam

There is a big question about whether Hazel will really be able to travel to Amsterdam since she is weak and uses supplemental oxygen in a tank. Her team of doctors meets with her and her parents in a conference room and one doctor in particular is adamantly opposed to taking the risk of allowing Hazel to travel to Amsterdam.

Another doctor in the room looks on with an empathetic look on her face as she seems to acknowledge that Hazel not being able to go for this ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ would be heartbreaking for her.

After some deliberation it is determined that Hazel will be able to travel to Amsterdam with the proper supports in place (A team of doctors on call there in Amsterdam, for example.) Before long, Hazel, her Mom, and Gus are all headed to Amsterdam on Gus’s very first plane ride!

Fine dining

Hazel and Gus find Amsterdam to be beautiful and amazing of course. Hazel wears a pretty blue dress and Gus wears a suit for them to feast on great tasting food and champagne at a fine restaurant where the waiter says “We have bottled all the stars for you”, referring to the champagne. Hazel and Gus are pleasantly surprised when they learn that it is the book’s author that has paid for their meal already. We later learn though that it is the author’s assistant and not the author himself that extends this kindness of paying for the meal.


A disappointing meeting

Hazel and Gus’s meeting with the book’s author ends up being a bust because the book’s author is a rude and crass alcoholic that speaks to them horribly. Frustrated with having wasted their time, the two teenagers also say a thing or two back to the author and leave his home exasperated. The author’s assistant follows them out and apologizes on the reclusive author’s behalf. She is the one that thought that the teenagers taking an interest in the author’s work and visiting him in Amsterdam would be a positive thing. She invites them to take an excursion to the Anne Frank house museum and reassures them that the belligerent author is not invited to come along.

A visit to the Anne Frank house

When the three of them arrive at the Anne Frank house museum, Hazel looks visibly tired and disappointed when she learns that there are no elevators at the historical site, only stairs. Nevertheless, she is determined to go in and experience the museum visit.

Along the way, she receives a little help from the author’s assistant with carrying her oxygen tank. By the time she reaches behind the bookcase and the attic where Anne Frank and her family hid from Nazi soldiers during the Holocaust, Hazel is so very tired. She sits on the floor for a moment to catch her breath and then rises and looks around, fascinated.

Hazel and Gus kiss at the museum.

Hazel and Gus blossom from friendship to love very quickly in the three days that they spend in Amsterdam. The doctors did not allow for a longer trip to Amsterdam.

Returning home

One day, after meeting Hazel’s Mom for breakfast, Hazel and Gus go for a walk after Gus suggests it. While sitting on a bench by a canal, Gus admits to Hazel that his cancer has returned and is basically appearing in many areas throughout his body. Hazel absorbs what Gus is saying and asks if he is in any pain.

They all make a somber return back to the United States from Amsterdam. Hazel’s Dad greets them with a sign welcoming his “beautiful family and Gus” back home.

  • Not long after, Gus has a health crisis with infection where Hazel has to call an ambulance for him.
  • Gus’s brave face toward terminal illness changes to heartbreaking vulnerability.

He soon has to be in a wheelchair and he asks both Hazel and his friend that has lost his eyesight to be speakers at his funeral. They even have a practice session where they speak their words so that Gus can hear them before he passes away.

Gus's death

Hazel is in bed when her parents open her bedroom door to inform her of Gus’s death. She know what is coming as she hears the door open and her body shakes from crying before her parents even say anything.

Hazel decides to change her prepared eulogy for Gus. At the funeral, she decides to use words that are more ‘gentle’ and comforting for the mourners to hear and determines that the funerals are for the living not for the dead. The author from Amsterdam shows up at Gus’s funeral and Hazel's facial expression shows that she is livid about seeing him there. She is not interested in anything that he might have to say to her or give her. When he comes to sit in her car and give her a paper, she tells him to get out of her car and she wants to be left alone to grieve.

He gets out of the car but first says that he thinks she would want to see this paper. She crumples it up and dismisses it, tossing it on the floor of the car. It is only later that she learns that Gus solicited the author’s help in writing a eulogy for her. Although Gus ended up preceding her in death, he knew how he felt about her and wanted to properly eulogize her but felt like he did not have a “flair” for words.

Subsequently, Gus had reached out to the author literally telling him that the author is a bad person but a good writer and saying about himself that he is a good person but a bad writer. He suggest that maybe they can work together to write something to be spoken at Hazel’s funeral. Hazel learns about Gus’s collaborative plan from his friend and heads back to the car to retrieve the crumpled piece of paper that speaks on her beauty and character and ability to be funny without being mean. Hazel is touched by the writing and is ready to face her own impending death.

The Fault in Our Stars - Hazel learns of Gus's death


This is how the movie, The Fault in Our Stars ends. It is a dark, stark, subversive, realistic portrayal of protagonists facing terminal illness. There are moments of sarcasm and wit, some humor in a very sad scenario.

The romantic but tragic movie The Fault in Our Stars offers the message that in the end, love conquers all. Love is everything. Having love, being loved, knowing love. Having friends and family that love you and someone that loves you romantically is enough and being known and remembered by them is enough. Gus had been frustrated because he had wanted to become extraordinarily accomplished and maybe even well known or famous before his death but Hazel had admonished him for this.

He told her, “Don’t be mad.” and she said that she was mad because it ought to be enough. Knowing that she loved him and that his family and friends loved him and will always remember him should be enough. She helped him to see that there is joy and fulfillment in having just that small circle of people that knew him, valued him, loved him and will always remember him.

The Fault in Our Stars the movie is rated PG-13.


The Fault in Our Stars the movie

4 stars for The Fault in Our Stars the movie

The Fault in Our Stars movie trailer

The Fault in Our Stars movie clip ("It's a metaphor.")

Boom Clap, song from the soundtrack of The Fault in Our Stars the movie : CharliXCX - Boom Clap

© 2019 Nyesha Pagnou MPH


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