The Fault In Our Stars
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe
I honestly did not think this would be my type of movie. I’ve heard about the book for a long time now and I’ve seen the previews for a few months. I knew the basic premise of the film so I thought I knew what to expect: Two people with cancer meet and fall in love. Despite the majority of acclaim, I thought it would be a clichéd, overly emotionally teenage love story with excessively cheesy dialogue. Well, I will be the first to admit that I was wrong. The Story: The Fault in Our Stars is the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a smart 16 year old girl, who has lived with cancer since the age of 13. She is sarcastic and rather cynical, but she doesn’t want pity. Hazel meets Augustus Waters, at a local cancer support group. Augustus is an optimistic and outgoing 18 year old who survived a cancer diagnosis and is currently in remission. Things are looking up for him. The two hit it off pretty quickly and bond over their abnormal circumstances in life, unconventional sense of humor, and deep questions about life. The film follows the relationship of Augustus and Hazel and takes us into some pretty emotional territory along the way. The Acting: I personally have not ever really been a big fan of Shailene Woodley. Her acting hasn’t been super impressive to me in the past and I haven’t understood the hype surrounding her, until now. I completely get it now. Her performance as Hazel is witty, complex, and deeply emotional. This is fantastic acting. Hazel is a teenager that actually made sense. She isn’t a selfish brat or a lame stereotype. Instead of letting people pity her for what she’s going through, she’s intelligent and sarcastic. One of the aspects that I found really fascinating about Hazel is her obsession with her favorite book An Imperial Affliction. This particular book ends mid-sentence leaving her with many questions as to what happens to several supporting characters when it’s all over. She and Augustus get into contact with the author of the book and schedule a trip to meet him to ask him these questions. It’s clear Hazel is not really interested in the characters in the book, rather she is interested in what will happen to those around her when she will die. The book becomes ultimately symbolic for Hazel’s life.
Directed by: Josh Boone
Shailene Woodley as Hazel Lancaster
Ansel Elgort plays Augustus Waters. I hadn’t really seen him in much before this, but he does a really great job carrying the male lead in this movie. If the tween girls that squealed excessively throughout our movie screening are any indication, he seems to be pretty popular. What can I say? “Ansel. So hot right now. Ansel.”
One of my ultimate goals for this blog is to incorporate a Zoolander reference into 1 out of every 3 posts.
Augustus is an incredibly charming and kind character with a huge personality. He expresses a profound love of metaphors and a deep fear of oblivion. He strives to lead an important life and to have a substantial impact on the world. His relationship with Hazel helps him realize that he does live an important life and he has a much bigger impact on those around him than he realizes.Watching Hazel and Augustus’ relationship as the film progresses is truly moving. They are actually interested in finding out each other’s hobbies and interests. They connect through similar life experiences and are able to relate to understand one another in a way that no one else can.
Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters
Laura Dern is wonderful as Hazel’s mother, Frannie Lancaster. Side note- There should definitely be more people named Frannie in the world. I have never had a conversation with a person named Frannie and that just makes me sad. Anyway, Frannie wasn’t just a side note parent. In a movie with multiple teenagers, it would be very common for parents to be sidelined. Not here. Frannie refuses to be sidelined. Frannie is always there when her daughter needs her. I appreciated the way the film treated Hazel’s relationship with her parents. They had a loving and positive relationship and they were there for each other no matter the circumstances.
Laura Dern as Frannie
Willem Dafoe plays Van Houten, the mysterious and reclusive author of An Imperial Affliction. I can’t say too much about his character without giving away some minor spoilers, but I can say he has a major affinity for Swedish rap music. Who can blame him though? It’s clearly superior to all other forms of rap music. I wish it was more popular.
Final Thoughts:Throughout the film, Hazel and Augustus find that “the world is not a wish granting factory” and that life it is not always fair to us. Despite unfairness, suffering, and trials that seem to be insurmountable, we learn to live with the life we have been given and we love along the way.
It is really refreshing to see a movie with intelligent teenagers asking deep questions and dealing with issues that are not paper-thin. Cancer, death, and oblivion are all very heavy topics. With the wrong balance, this film could’ve easily become too heavy handed and melodramatic. However, it manages to strike the perfect balance of humor and emotion. It would be a disservice to call the Fault in Our Stars just a “cancer movie”. Instead, it is a reminder to live and love deeply even when life’s circumstances seem unbearable.
My Rating: 10/10