Editor’s Note: Sometimes a movie needs a second opinion. The Fault in Our Stars is one of those movies. Padraig Cotter already had his say, now Brian D’Arcy examines just how many gallons of tears can be extracted from the human body through the adaptation of a young adult novel.
Directors: Josh Boone
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Woolf, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe
Running Time: 145 minutes
Release Date: 19th June>
Hazel (Woodley) is recovering from cancer, but the damage that her body has suffered in fighting the disease has left her with badly damaged lungs that force her to always carry oxygen in order to assist her breathing. She is a rather sarcastic and intelligent teenager with a very clear sense of where she is and her limited time left on earth. In order to please her mother she attends a support group for cancer sufferers and survivors. She is not taken with the group until teenager Augustus Waters shows up and manages to take her out of her comfort zone and grab her attention. Although their journeys are unique the common ground shared by Hazel and Augustus is the perfect jumping off point for romance and learning that their is more to life than the boundaries that their illnesses have placed on them.
Based on the novel, of the same name, by John Green there are few of the target audience (teenage girls) that will not have read or at the very least heard of the book; it has sold 9 million copies worldwide and been translated into 47 languages. It is unapologetic in aiming at said audience and it is going to make a hell of a lot of money not just because it appeals to a large and very impressionable group but because it’s quite decent.
Elgort and Woodley most recently appeared on screen together in Divergent in which they played brother and sister, but that’s easily to forgotten once the star crossed lovers (their words not mine) romance starts to develop. There is very believable chemistry between the two of them and you can’t help get dragged into the developing romance, because they deliver it with ease.
Elgort’s Augustus is quite a grating character in the beginning but as it moves along he grows on you and it’s hard not to feel for the guy as he pursues his one true love. On the other hand Hazel (Woodley) is a much more enjoyable and likeable character from the moment she appears on screen. There is a strength in the character that Woodley manages to absolutely nail. She feels like a young woman fighting for every breath as she moves through the world waiting for the inevitable. The relationship she shares with her parents is delivered in a very believable fashion; the scenario that these characters are living in is full of uncomfortable moments and the writing and delivery is spot on.
There is plenty for the audience to get emotional about throughout the movie, but in the final act they really push the boat out with some pretty harrowing moments. There also exists an unashamed pursuit of the emotional heart strings to tug on as they crank up the sad music at just the right time, but then it wouldn’t be doing its job if it wasn’t trying so hard.
As already stated, this would make a truck full of cash even if it was garbage, but it is refreshing that it is not. Featuring a fantastic performance by Shailene Woodley, who is going to be an absolute megastar, and managing to tick every box, The Fault in Our Stars is surprisingly enjoyable if you’re a boy and mind blowing if you’re a teenage girl.