Movie Review: The Fault In Our Stars.
Directed By: Josh Boone.
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Nat Wolff and Willem Dafoe.
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.
The Fault In Our Stars is based off the very popular young adult novel by John Green that I had no idea existed until I heard of the movie. I saw the trailer a while ago and I've been looking forward to the movie ever since.
Hazel Grace Lancaster (Woodley) is a young girl who was diagnosed with cancer when she was 13 years old, she has lived with the disease for years. She is forced to go to a support group to help her handle her depression and meets Augustus Waters (Elgort) who is a cancer survivor. The two form a strong bond that develops into a sweet and really sad love story.
Now like I said, I had no idea that this book existed (I have started reading it now) but as soon as this movie was announced, the internet went crazy with teenage girls saying its the best thing ever. I had been looking forward to the film and I'm glad to say I liked it.
Young adult movies like this can really go either way, they can be horrible like "Twilight" or surprisingly great like "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" or "Hunger Games: Catching Fire". I would compare this movie a lot to "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower", it has a lot of the same elements and tones to it.
Shailene Woodley (Divergent) is one of my favorite upcoming actresses, she really owns every role I've seen her in and actually made "Divergent" watchable. I really do enjoy her work and "The Fault In Our Stars" might be her best performance yet. She really blew me away in this film. Her character is likable, sympathetic and her story is heartbreaking. Shailene brought both a frailty to the character but also a strength, I guess that's the writing as well but I felt that Woodley's performance really elaborated the character. Her character is a cancer sufferer but she has to live with it and to do that, you have to be strong and Shailene brought the strong personality needed. I think by far she is really the best part of this film. She felt real and that's one of the best things a performer can do.
And that is a big pro to the movie, all of its characters feel real, even the stranger characters like Willem Dafoe. They felt real and that really adds to the emotional heft that the film has. You can see that the actors all had great respect for the source material and were giving genuine performances.
Ansel Elgort (Divergent) plays Augustus and he is a very strong, cocky, witty character and I was really surprised by Elgort's performance. I've seen him before in films like Carrie and Divergent and didn't think he was good at all, especially in Carrie. But he shines here, he brings a lot to the character and I'm not sure if that's all to do with the writing but he also just felt real. His character is instantly likable and the journey he goes through is heartbreaking.
A lot of movies that deal with subject matter similar to this tell the story of the character learning about their illness and trying to deal with it. When we meet our characters, they already know what its like, they've lived with it and I praise the movie for that.
Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort worked very well together, they're chemistry was mostly good, in a couple of scenes it felt like they were acting but for the most part the love between them felt very real. A lot of the great chemistry was to do with the script, these actors had a really good script to work with and some of the lines tugged at the heart strings and yes I did cry at parts in this film because of its script and how the actor performed it.
This movie is going to make you cry, its almost impossible not to get choked up in this movie. Again the script could have easily become very sappy and overly emotional but it had a lot of comedy and some really light moments so that the film wasn't depressing. There are scenes where its obvious you're supposed to cry and.....it worked.
The direction of the film was very good, it was subtle and didn't feel heavy handed. Josh Boone who previously directed Stuck In Love directed this film and with Stuck In Love, the emotional moments felt too heavy handed so they didn't work but he loosens his grip with this film and lets the actors just perform to their best.
Laura Dern (Jurassic Park) plays Hazel's mother in the movie and at time I thought she was good but in some scenes she felt like she was playing it up too much. She felt like she was over playing the role and that took me out of the movie at times.
Willem Dafoe has a couple of scenes as Hazel's favorite author and you can tell he was having fun with his character and Dafoe is always good.
The film contradicts it self in a way, it tries very hard to avoid falling into some cliches that it actually ends up doing so, and I'm not sure if these cliches are in the source material but some were definitely present in the film but the amount of cliches that this movie could have fallen into is marginally bigger than the ones it did fall into.
The Fault In Our Stars is a poignant, sweet, and heartbreaking love story that I enjoyed from start to finish. It's story is really strong and the actors did a great job. I wouldn't say this movie is fantastic, its certainly not as great as I thought it would be but it is very good and I do recommend it. I'm going to give The Fault In Our Stars a B!
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