The Fault in Our Stars
Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley), a 16-year-old cancer patient, meets and falls in love with Gus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a similarly afflicted teen from her cancer support group. Hazel feels that Gus really understands her. They both share the same acerbic wit and a love of books, especially Grace's touchstone, "An Imperial Affliction" by Peter Van Houten. When Gus scores an invitation to meet the reclusive author, he and Hazel embark on the adventure of their brief lives.
Release Date: June 06, 2014
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Traditionally, summer is a magnet to high octane, effects-driven movies that leave in their wake broken glass and $100 million opening weekends. So when I see a small, beautiful movie like “The Fault in our Stars” trying to fit in with superheroes and time-skipping alien invasions, I want to gingerly scoop it up with both hands and gently set it back in March or April where it belongs.
But “The Fault in our Stars” doesn’t need any help fitting in, and it definitely doesn’t need some patronizing movie critic pointing it back to the kiddie-playground.
I list my three reasons to see this movie in an article here at OK.com, but here's my conclusion:
One important question “The Fault in our Stars” asks its viewers to consider revolves around life after death.
I don’t mean life after our own personal death, but rather, life after the death of someone close to us. Who do we become after our world is torn apart because we loved someone too deeply?
One of my favorite moments in the movie is just a simple hug between a mother and her daughter. You’ll know it when you see it, and you’ll probably be just as conflicted as I was. Watching the movie, I wasn’t ready for one of the characters to grow up, so sharing in the happiness of the moment challenged me personally.
I’m still thinking about that moment, and many more like it, and that’s kind of the magic of “The Fault in our Stars.” It’s because of the heart of this film that I now want to take all of the $200 million dollar films of the summer line-up and gently place them back in March or April where they belong.June 6th, 2014 · Details2 Thanks ·
The Fault In Our Stars is a film that anyone with any or all of the following will enjoy and be touched by: a heart, a sense of humor, and if you're losing or have lost someone to a terminal illness.
The movie starts off light-hearted enough showing how Hazel Grace (Shailene Woodley) has learned to live with the fact that she's dying, when she crosses paths with an interesting young but-older man who's recently fought and won his most recent bout with his disease. They hit it off immediately and what follows is about what you'd expect from this type of film. She doesn't want him to get too close or fall in love, he refuses to not fall in love with her. None of this is really a spoiler as it's what else happens that makes this film stand out and should make it a great film.
If Nicholas Sparks still (or ever) knew how to write love stories, this film would be the best of his books to be adapted to film. Instead that honor goes to John Green, whom if the movie is any indication, wrote a stellar love story that has its highs and lows emotionally but not the lows of a negative nature. The lows hit hard in this film, but delicately. Nothing seems forced or faked, It all feels so natural. I suspect most of that is accredited to the director, Josh Boone, as well as the two leads, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort who both give phenomenal performances with realism and raw emotion.
I must admit I saw this film because of my admiration of Shailene Woodley, who was great in films like The Spectacular Now and The Descendants, and this is not to take ANYTHING away from her performance in this film, but I stayed for Ansel Elgort, who truly stole the show in this film. He has a style and a look of that of one of the Franco brothers, but with more tenderness and sensitivity. He is destined for a great career in film if he keeps this level of intensity up.
The film has the magical and rare ability to make your eyes water and make you laugh in the same breath and does so more than once, and it feels so sincere as it does so.
The supporting cast are great as well, including but not limited to Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Nat Wolff and Willem DaFoe.
The soundtrack too is fitting and helps drive home the events of the film. I didn't recognize a single song played in the film, but I'm inclined to look them each up and purchase them.
This film will stay with me for a long time and was an overall and exceedingly pleasant experience even though its subject matter is that of our own mortality and how much it can hurt to love and let people in knowing full well the love may not last very long at all, but that that CANNOT be a reason not to love intensely for as long as possible.
The last forty-five minutes of this film I viewed intently with an ever-growing lump in my throat.
See this movie, bring tissue and a friend to discuss it with after the credits rolls and the lights go up.June 3rd, 2014 · Details1 Thank ·
In a Nutshell: I’m going to have to read this book. The movie is based on the #1 bestselling novel by John Green and only whets your appetite with meaty nuggets of wisdom about life and love. Get your tissues ready. The movie starts with Hazel Grace, a teenager who battles every day with lung cancer: “I believe we have a choice in this world about how to tell sad stories. One the one hand, you can sugar-coat it, the way they do in movies and romance novels for beautiful people to learn beautiful lessons, when nothing’s too messed up that can’t be fixed with an apology or a Peter Gabriel song. I like that version as much as the next girl does, believe me. It’s just not the truth. This is the truth. Sorry.”
• They say you can write your own eulogy. How? Write what you want to happen in your life and then live it.
• Death is unbearable, but so is living a life without love and less than what you are capable of.
• There is an honesty to the way people with incurable diseases live. Unlike the rest of us who pretend that we can have as many days and nights as we want, those who stare death in the face every day truly understand the value of time.
• The movie isn’t so much about dying, but living in the face of death and after a loved one dies.
Things I liked:
• As an author myself, I loved the part of the story that features Hazel Grace’s relationship with a writer of a book she is obsessed with. I love the title of the book “Imperial Affliction” and the fact that the story ends in the middle of a sentence. Hazel says “It’s so truthful. You just die. You die in the middle of a sentence.”
• I loved Augustus’ cigarette metaphor: “They don’t kill you unless you light them, and I’ve never lit one. It’s a metaphor. See, you put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing. A metaphor.” Not that I would go so far as to buy cigarettes to put between my lips, but I love the feeling of empowerment and defiance that image evokes.
• I loved seeing the bridges in Amsterdam that Hazel and Gus sailed underneath. It’s on my Bucket List.
• I thought it was cute that two of the couples in the movie have a word they lovingly repeated to each other like “always” or Hazel and Gus’ “OK.” One word can say so much.
• I liked Hazel and Gus’ conversation about believing in something after this life. Gus said he absolutely did…“Otherwise, what’s the point?”
• It’s always great to see Willem Dafoe in anything.
• There is warmth, humor, and honesty in the story-telling. Cancer weepies can often be too contrived and manipulative, but there is enough snark and wisdom in this film to pull it off.
Things I didn’t like:
• Only in Chick Flicks do teenage boys fall all over themselves to win a girl’s affection. Guys: take note…it works every time.
• The music tends to cue you on when to cry, but you do it anyway.
• Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I really hate watching pre-marital sex scenes. I also hate it when people make fun of well-intentioned Christians, like Hazel and Gus do in their cancer therapy session when their group leader starts singing to give them hope.
Did you know?
• The imaginative playground with the skeleton where Hazel and Gus have a picnic is actually located on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and is called “Funky Bones.”
• Dozens of web sites have been created by fans who want to continue talking about this book and movie.
• Sheilene Woodley (Hazel Grace) and Ansel Elgort (Augustus) did a fantastic job. They played brother and sister in Divergent and have great chemistry together. Sheilene admits they have more of a brother-sister relationship in real life…not romantic. You can read my movie review for Divergent at www.MovieReviewMaven.blogspot.com
• “That’s the thing about pain: it demands to be felt.” - Augustus
• “I wouldn’t mind. It would be my privilege to have my heart broken by you.” - Augustus
• “I’m a grenade. One day I’m going to explode and obliterate everything in my wake and I don’t know…It’s just my responsibility to minimize the casualties.” - Hazel Grace
• “Everything’s coming up Waters.” - Hazel Grace
• “You two are so adorable.” - Mom
“We’re just friends.” - Hazel Grace
“Well, she is. I’m not.” – Augustus
• The waiter in the beautiful Amsterdam restaurant asked Hazel Grace and Gus “Do you know what Don Perignon said after he invented champagne?” “Come quickly! I’m tasting the stars!” The waiter then told them“We’ve bottled all the stars for you, my young friends.”
• “I want this Dragon Carrot Risotti to become a person so that I can take it to Vegas and marry it.” - Gus
• “You’re American.” - Van Houten’s assistant
“Incurably so.” - Author Peter Van Houten
• “You gave me a forever within a numbered days and, for that, I am eternally grateful.” - Hazel to Gus
• “If you want the rainbow, you have to deal with the rain.” - sign that hangs on Gus’ wall at home.
• “Funerals are not for the dead. They’re for the living.” - Hazel Grace
• “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have a say in who hurts you and I like my choices.” - Gus
• “I fell in love the way you fall asleep…slowly, then all at once.” - Hazel
• “Embrace your destiny and leave your mark on the world.” - Augustus
• “So yeah, that just happened. I’ve been trying to tell you… I’m kinda awesome.” - Augustus
• Hazel, Gus and Isaac egg a house and Hazel says “Guys, I think we should wait until it’s dark.” Gus reminds her that Isaac is blind and says “It’s all dark to Isaac.”
• Hazel asks Isaac, who just broke up with his girlfriend, “Do you want to talk about it?” His honest reply: “No, I just want to cry and play video games.”
Tips for parents: Pre-marital sex, groping, 1 F-bomb and some other profanity. The movie creates some good opportunities to talk to your children about:
• Terminal illness & lung diseases
• Anne Frank
• The Trolley ProblemJune 30th, 2014 · Details
over all, I was deeply touched by “The Fault in Our Stars,” which not only features two beautifully written characters, but shows some restraint in a heartfelt weeper that could have easily gone over the edge. It comes close, but backs off just in the nick of time... See Full ReviewJune 11th, 2014 · Details
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is very well made, but has mixed content. It contains some positive Christian elements, with Bible verses and prayers, but the teenagers make fun of their Christian group leader. Also, the villain is an alcoholic humanist. In addition, the main characters are consumed with their romance, despite having to deal with some painful realities. Sadly, the young teenagers sleep together and curse frequently, so extreme caution is advised for THE FAULT IN OUR STARS... See Full Review
The characters in the movie like to say, “it’s a metaphor,” but their own story is a metaphor about the issues we all grapple with. Watching people whose biggest problem should be what to wear to the prom confront the problem of making sense of life, finding meaning, risking intimacy is a heightened version for dramatic purposes. But these are the core challenges for all of us, whether our lives will last for 16 years or 116. These teenagers just do not have the luxury the rest of us do of being in denial about how little time there is... See Full Review
Shailene Woodley, who can do no acting wrong, brings a welcome reality to “The Fault in Our Stars,” a perfectly serviceable teen date picture that teenage girls will have to bribe teenage boys to sit through.
Sweet, cute to the point of cutesy, it’s a weeper about doomed teenagers who meet in a cancer patients support group, and dare to fall in love... See Full Review
So, those unfamiliar with the book should be duly warned: Bring plenty of tissues.
Stars is an unabashed tearjerker, though it's also about celebrating life. The movie is well-written, well-acted, acerbic, funny and wisely observed. Fans of the book will be glad to hear it is faithful to Green's tale... See Full Review