So I went to see The Fault in our Stars last night after having a wait a torturous extra two weeks. Screw me for being born in the UK, right?
I was pretty sure it was going to destroy me emotionally and I was right. I’m not sure I’ve sobbed that hard at a movie, ever.
So what is TFIOS? The Fault in our Stars is a Young Adult fiction novel written by John Green and tells the tale of Hazel, a long-standing cancer sufferer and Gus, a former cancer patient, now cancer free but at the expense of one leg. Their journey follows their lives as they come to terms with reality, most notably a trip to Amsterdam in which they question everything from the meaning of life, the unfair nature of it all and their disappointment at the sorry alcoholic their favourite author turns out to be.
Cinematically, there was a great use of on-screen modern technology- the texting between Hazel and Gus as well as the email conversations between Hazel and Peter Van Houten were very nicely integrated into the movie. None of it felt too out of place as it was always stylised within the film. The scene in Orangjee (which was actually filmed on set in Pittsburgh as the Dutch Restaurant doesn’t actually exist) was beautiful regardless of the change from an outside setting to indoor. The set design was so beautifully executed, it really didn’t matter.
What impressed me most though was how incredibly close it was to the book. I mean obviously there were a few changes but everything that needed to be included had been. I always worry with film adaptations that the essence of the book will be destroyed but it was most certainly not the case here. Going in to the film, I was a bit concerned about Shailene Woodley portraying Hazel as I had never particularly taken to her in Divergent and apart from a small role in The O.C years back, I hadn’t really seen her in anything else. She won me over though. She was actually far more perfect than I could have imagined with her fresh mix of truth and tenacity. Seeing as the film was so very focused on both Hazel and Gus, with other characters getting very little screen time, it was imperative that the actors were sincere in their performance. Luckily, the movie was cast very well and Ansel Elgort’s performance as Augustus Waters was flawless. It only serves to demonstrate how much of a successful career Elgort could have ahead of him.
I’d be inclined to say that although the film will most certainly have a wider appeal, those who have read the book- especially those of the Nerdfighteria persuasion (myself included) will have a much deeper relationship with Hazel and Gus. We know Gus’ Oblivion speech by heart and we have all kind of not-so-secretly wished An Imperial Affliction was a real book. Then again, my Boyfriend got a little emotional so it obviously touches those who have not been initiated into the TFIOS fan club!
So regardless of whether you have read the book or not, if the premise of two young teenagers contemplating life, death and throwing eggs at cars sounds like something you won’t hate, you should see this movie. It’s a perfect little sob-fest and it actually deals with some important issues. It’s not a light hearted stroll through Hyde Park with a soft ice and a 99 Flake. It’s troubled and dark and sad and a little lost at times but it’s also a really, really good movie. Just don’t forget to bring tissues.