Genre: Drama, Romance
Directed by: Josh Boone
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern
The adaption craze doesn’t seem to be dwindling as another YA novel adapts to the big screen once again. This time, it’s John Green’s wonderfully charming tale of a young protagonist, Hazel, who begins a relationship with the equally sweet and dashing Augustus Waters, whilst dealing with a terminal illness.
I’ve also felt torn between staying loyal to a novel, and desperately wanting to see the on-screen transformation out of fear for its possible failure. Usually, curiosity wins out, and with recent adaption successes such as dystopian-fantasy film Divergent, I felt myself growing more and more receptive; despite the far from subtle money-making schemes buried within each adaption. The Fault in Our Stars did not disappoint either.
Once you get over Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley shifting from on-screen brother and sister in Divergent to star-crossed, witty lovers in The Fault in Our Stars, the film instantly sweeps you away without pause. It was such a truthful and loyal adaption, keeping the likeable sweetness and fluffy feel of the novel whilst also incorporating the realistic and darker themes of dealing with cancer, depression and the fear of dying itself. Only incredible novels and films can move you from tears of laughter one moment, to terrible sobbing the next, and The Fault in Our Stars did just that. Ignoring that my favourite moment of the novel was cut – an airport scene where a young girl curiously questions Hazel about her nasal tube, and I recently found out the scene included a cameo from John Green himself! – fans of the novel will most definitely enjoy the film. I expect the author proudly oversaw the project thoughroughly, which would explain the capturing of both a young, yet mature relationship facing numerous problems, but still enjoying their “little infinities”.
Hazel – played by the fantastic Shailene Woodley – and Augustus – the similarly brilliant Ansel Elgort – were simply destined to act together. Both actors bring out each other’s emotion and are enjoyably charming and sweet together. I’ve also loved the novel’s focus on Hazel and Augustus’ friendship as well as their romantically appealing qualities, and the film adapted this beautifully. There are many awful portrayals of unhealthy relationships both in novels, films and the media generally, so seeing a supportive, platonic, romantic and strong relationship in Hazel and Augustus definitely plays a strong part of the film’s likeability.
Hazel is intelligent, caring and understands the ground rules for life – ‘oblivion is inevitable’ and ‘depression isn’t a side effect of cancer. It’s a side effect of death’ taking their place as two of my favourite quotes. This combined with Augustus’ fear of said inevitable oblivion, and you are faced with two realistically terrified, yet optimistic and beautifully complex characters building what’s left of their futures with one another.
I must also praise the side characters, Augustus’ blind friend, the dry-humoured Isaac (Nat Wolff) who also brings another realistic character to watch unfold on-screen. A breakdown scene known as the ‘night of the broken trophies’ in the novel was featured perfectly in the film, showing Isaac’s distress and anger over his break-up. The scene is funny yet heart-breaking and relatable. After all, haven’t we all resisted the urge to ‘cry and play video games’ or scream into a pillow? You’d be lying if you said no. Or at least something along those lines.
Along with Isaac, Hazel’s supportive parents, played by Laura Dern and Sam Trammellare natural and easy-going parents, and their support for Hazel will most likely bring tears to the eyes of any parent watching the film. The Fault in Our Stars wouldn’t be the same without the family love offered to both Hazel and Augustus, and a film that includes such an encouraging, diverse range of love – platonic, family, and romantic – is only bound to succeed. From what I’ve seen, it has not only been an incredible journey, but a financial success as well, to a well-deserved cast and crew.
I cannot promise a happy ending to the film, nor can I promise a sad one, as The Fault in Our Stars is so much more than its conclusion. It’s about living and loving and overcoming the haunting fear of death. Each viewer will interpret the ending differently. Whether or not you choose to linger on it or focus on the relationships and enjoyable moments is completely down to you, but The Fault in Our Stars will stay with you for a long time. It will stay with me, that I am certain.
Favourite line: “Some infinities are simply bigger than others.”
Favourite moment: The Anne Frank House scenes – Hazel’s determination to climb three sets of evilly steep stairs is incredibly moving and powerful.