Review: The Fault in Our Stars (2014, Josh Boone)

the-fault-in-our-stars-whysoblu-2RATING: 8/10

Director: Josh Boone
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Nat Wolff, Sam Trammell, Willem Dafoe, Lotte Verbeek
Screenplay: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber (Based on the novel by John Green)

I won’t lie and say I cried (like everyone I know did) because I didn’t. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t touched by what “The Fault in Our Stars” had to offer. It was a rich story that was extremely well written (screenwriters Neustadter & Weber have been quite a great team and seem to be on a roll lately) and the two leading performances were so beautifully played out that you forget that the film is meant to target younger teen girls but a wider audience of movie goers.This is how you adapt a Young Adult love story novel.

“The Fault in Our Stars” is as star-crossed as it ever can be. Focusing mainly on Shailene Woodley’s character, Hazel Grace Lancaster, who has cancer and must tug around an oxygen filled tank everywhere she goes, she decides to make her parents happy and attend a support group of people like her. There she meets the charming, Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), who has suffered his own fate, and they fall in love. However, things don’t go according to what they want (what life does?) and the lovers face death and the reality of their fatal sicknesses.

It was incredibly hard to watch the film. And not because of the subject matter. Unfortunately, I came in the film expecting to be snobbish (I honestly can’t help it sometimes) and I went to “see what all the fuss was about” (*SECRET*: truly I wanted a good cry just like everyone else, though shhhh—don’t tell)! I thank the Movie Gods who changed my opinion of the film just a few minutes in, because “The Fault in Our Stars” does not deserve any thing less then praise with what it’s done to its audience and what it has to offer. The film was truly well made, and because of two reasons: the first being its strong adaptation of John Green’s book, and the second being the chemistry and acting of its two leads.

I’m one of those guys who began to hate “(500) Days of Summer” (2009) after repeated viewings. But its screenwriters, Neustadter and Weber have finally found their voice and have truly impressed me with their last few films. Last year’s “The Spectacular Now” (coincidentally) starring Shailene Woodley was one of my favourite films of 2013, and this one is also very good. They’ve learned to write well-mannered and authentic romantic dialogue which makes Nicholas Sparks (and any of his movie adaptions) look like a bucket of poop. Sorry.

To my surprise, I was also never a fan of Shailene Woodley until she completely restored my faith with her last two Neustadter/Weber roles. I’ve got to realize that off screen personas have nothing to do with performances. Though I loved her in “The Spectacular Now”, I hated her in “Divergent”, but I find her absolutely phenomenal in “The Fault in Our Stars”. It just shows that she is a true talent and has come up with three truly great performances (the other one is “The Descendants”) which makes her far from a fluke. And just the fact that she can separate herself from her irritating off screen persona just proves that she has what it takes to become a truly wonderful performer.  Any scene with Shailene makes you gravitate to her presence and her Hazel Grace Lancaster is truly remarkable. She won me over. Same goes for Ansel Elgort’s Gus, who complimented Woodley so well. Their chemistry is undeniable. Though he had a few scenes that weren’t at par with Woodley, most of his other ones (especially nearing the end) were finely acted. He has room for growth.

Basically, I really enjoyed the movie. I’m not shy to say that I thought the film was indeed very good. I never expected to give it a score higher then 6.5-7/10. But I guess that’s one of the greatest things about going to the movies, the pleasant surprises and hidden treasures that it has to offer you will always come out once in awhile. It’s definitely one of the stronger love stories we’ve had in this Young Adult genre. Most of the time, that genre is a complete and utter mess. However, “Fault” keeps it together all the way through and teaches you valuable lessons on life and love, even though it doesn’t exactly dig deeper then other films do. Two thumbs up!

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