You Should Be Watching: ‘The Fault In Our Stars’
Having reviewed the book for us a few weeks ago, Charlie Derry has now seen the film of ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ and this is what she thinks.
The New York Times’ No 1 Best Seller ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ is the fifth novel by author John Green. Originally published in 2012, the story follows sixteen-year-old cancer patient Hazel who, forced by her parents to attend a cancer support group, meets and subsequently falls in love with the witty 17-year-old Augustus Waters, an ex-basketball player and amputee. Recently adapted by director Josh Boone and scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the film adaptation explores the highs and lows of being in love, but more importantly the extravagant highs and frequented lows of being in love and having cancer. With Shailene Woodley playing Hazel and Ansel Elgort playing Gus, ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ is one of the most bitter-sweet romances of 2014.
Narrated by Hazel, told in first person just as the novel is, the film adaptation opens with Hazel setting the scene for her story. This diary type narrative style is what made the novel feel so real, enabling Hazel to document every moment and thought in her life as a cancer patient and allowing the audience to know exactly what’s going on in her mind. This also works well with the adaptation as it’s as if we are watching a chapter in her life, making the story feel concise, relevant, and one told from the heart.
The most important thing about this adaptation was always going to be how Boone could handle the emotions, development, and chemistry between his two leads. The novel itself was pretty straight forward to adapt, with a basic plot and very little to get wrong, apart from the relationship between Hazel and Gus. We, as an audience, needed to see that these two characters love each other uncontrollably, and to also feel the roller-coaster of emotions that they go through as we watch their story unfold.
On this rarity, Boone got the romance spot on. This isn’t just another teenage fantasy romance where we are forced to believe that two people love each other through the most unbelievable circumstances possible, this is a story about pure love; there’s true emotion, all of which you feel along the way, a yearning for accomplishment, and above all, a desire to simply live and love. That’s why the novel was such a brilliant read, and that’s why the adaptation works so well; Boone handles and develops his leads perfectly, making ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ even enjoyable for the many boyfriends that will undoubtedly be dragged along to see it.
But not only is ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ a compelling character driven drama and passionate romance, there are also moments of comedy. These two teenagers may be in love, but they also want to make the most of what little time they have left, so there’s a lot of fun to be had. Above all of that, however, ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ is a major tear-jerker. The only reason you won’t find yourself in tears by the end, like me, is because everybody else around you at the cinema will be absolutely bawling their eyes out.
Despite not being able to forget about Woodley and Elgort’s brother/sister relationship in the recent film adaptation of the young adult dystopian novel, ‘Divergent’, the two have a lovely chemistry together and you can easily tell that they have a lot of fun in each other’s company. Both give excellent performances and are undeniably two young actors to watch out for. Woodley is already a rising star with her break-out performance in 2012′s ‘The Descendants’, but ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ also makes way for Ansel Elgort. The rest of the cast work well too, with Hazel’s parents played by Laura Dern and Sam Trammell, and Van Houten by Willem Dafoe.
With beautiful scenery, with a section of the film being set in Amsterdam, and a fun and well-designed use of social media on screen, ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ also has an excellent soundtrack, which is something that always betters a teen rom-com like this. The whole feel of the film comes together brilliantly, leaving very little left to be criticised.
If you’re a fan of book adaptations, keep up to date with my ongoing features on Rife to find out what film adaptations are coming to the big screen, and what you should be reading in anticipation.