The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)The Fault in Our Stars is carefully constructed to tear plaintively at your heartstrings. It works best not as a weepy, but as a gentle evocation of romance through the subjective perspective of teenage protagonist, Hazel Grace (Shailene Woodley). Hazel has cancer, yes, and the story is in many ways about that. It’s also about how life as a teenager is so big and important and overwhelming; whether or not you have a terminal illness, it’s not hard to relate to how our teenage years seem like they’re the most important years we’ll ever have.

When navigating through Hazel’s somewhat-idealised romance with Augustus (Ansel Elgort), Josh Boone’s light touch keeps the film delightfully engaging. Meanwhile, the teenage perspective is coloured with some darker shades around the margins (via Hazel’s mother (Laura Dern) and an irascible author (Willem Dafoe)). It’s only when TFIOS lays on the emotional melodrama in the last act that it stumbles, breaking out big emotional music while pulling too many punches. We’re told that dying of cancer isn’t pretty, but that’s not evidenced on the screen. The saddest thing about the ending is that it feels unearned, suggesting a greater film that we didn’t get to see.3 stars

11 thoughts on “The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

  1. Good review. I was thinking of writing a post about John Green. I wondered how his adapted novel worked and was thinking of watching it this weekend. Seems like better than average but not great. Maybe I should read the novel first 😉

    • I haven’t read any of his books myself; from what I’ve read this film is very faithful to the novel outside of a few omissions.

    • Hey, Cindy. You should definitely read the novel first – I think you’d like it quite a lot. As to how the film works, it’s good. But the book is a bit better.

      • Hey, Josh. No doubt. I liked Searching for Alaska. He’s in my classroom in history class. I even have a kid who wears his t-shirts. JG is a Renaissance man. He can do no wrong right now. I better jump on the wave 😉

      • Hi Josh, no doubt! I liked Looking for Alaska and he’s in my history class with his ‘Crash Course’ segments. I have a student who wears his t-shirts and I can’t see this film in the theater for I’ll be that one who is crying too hard behind your neck. I will try the book first 😉

  2. One more great review, Dave. I especially enjoyed your take on the ending – it didn’t bother me as much as you, but the final act is where omissions from the book increase. And it’s a shame, if only because, apparently, the removed scenes detract from the emotional resonance.

  3. Pingback: The Fault in our (Movie) Stars: The Lack of Social Media in the Cinematic Medium | ccpopculture

  4. Pingback: Me, John Green and the Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Unfolding Paper Towns | ccpopculture

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