Saturday, June 14, 2014

Okay? Okay. The Fault in Our Stars.

The YA film genre blockbuster hit of the summer is unarguably the adaptation of John Green’s novel, The Fault in Our Stars.  The bestselling book has left many with teary eyes, as the star-crossed lovers between the lines (and on the silver screen) prove how limitless love can be.  Already amassing over $60 million domestically in the box office, The Fault in Our Stars
Enter Hazel Grace Lancaster (portrayed by Shailene Woodley), a cancer patient suffering from terminal thyroid cancer that has made its way to her lungs.  At a cancer support group one evening, she encounters Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), who is in remission of osteosarcoma, but has led to the amputation of his leg.  Her sarcastic wit attracts him immediately, and they embark on an infinity in their limited days together.  Featuring Laura Dern and Willem DaFoe, The Fault in Our Stars is a film that will reawaken the nature in which you love and show how strong it is.   
The unrequited love that Hazel and Augustus have for each other is beautiful, and the onscreen chemistry between Woodley and Elgort proves it so.  When Augustus proclaims he is in love with Hazel, it is pure.  Yes, his charm and good looks could easily make anyone groan, as he is what every girl in the young adult demographic would look for in a guy.  He was real and honest with her, and the basis of their relationship is more than enough to pull on the heart strings of a skeptic.   Hazel is bright, and despite the hardships that she feels she has put her family and others through, she looks for silver linings, especially once she forms a close bond with Augustus. 
The soundtrack to the film is phenomenal.  It features the talents of Ed Sheeran, Grouplove and Charli XCX.  It fit so perfectly into the film, as it carried the spirits of Hazel and Augustus with it. 
A portion of the film took place in Amsterdam.  The scenes shot there made it look absolutely breathtaking.  Springtime in Europe had never looked so extraordinary, yet was very modest as well.  The streets and rivers that cross through the city are simple and almost made me wish New York was like that. 
The film held very true to the book.  However, I noticed two things that were missing that would have made the film better.  First off, the book talks about how Hazel did have friends that she would try to remain in touch with, but it was difficult between all the doctors’ appointments and their still being in high school.  The film starts out with her at a doctor’s appointment being told she is depressed and should join a support group.  However, it isn't exactly significant to the love story of Hazel and Augustus, so maybe it’s okay that it wasn't included?
Another important nuance that somehow escaped the film was the namesake of the movie.  It is mentioned in the novel, but nowhere had I heard where the title of the film comes from.  In the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar, Cassius tells Brutus, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/But in ourselves, that we are underlings."  It means that people aren’t driven to act based on fate, or destiny, but based on the human condition and feeling what they feel.  Pain is meant to be felt, after all.  This quote so perfectly fits in with the film, as it gives a richer meaning to everything that goes on from the opening scene to the end credits.  I was disappointed that it was left out, as it would have tied everything together quite nicely.    
Josh Boone directed the film, with the meticulous help of John Green onset during production.  He gave tips and advice to the cast to ensure that his novel would be brought to life in the way he hoped.  As the film went on, I felt all the nuances and details fill the screen, and the amount of attention spent recreating the events was hard work that definitely paid off.

Overall, The Fault in Our Stars is a compelling film (and novel, too).  The book is very cinematic in nature, as its fast-paced and engaging story keeps the pages turning and the tears coming.  Make sure if you go see Fault in theaters, you bring plenty of Kleenex, even if you are weary of the film’s ending.  

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