It’s probably not a stretch to say that of the dregs of people lining up to see one of this summer’s biggest movies, at least half of them will be in the bathroom afterwards checking their puffy eyes to see how hard they had really been crying. Of those who are going to overpopulated the theatres this summer when The Fault In Our Stars releases, teenaged boys and girls will be the majority of them. Couples will see it together, girls squeezing their boyfriends hands while they cry through the most heart wrenching scenes in the movie. Forgoing popularity of other young adult series to pit lovers against each other in order to vie for the attention of the main character, The Fault In Our Stars is a story about love and the journey of these characters into each others lives and the impacts they make along the way.
The story starts with a 16 year old Hazel. Having battled cancer for most of her youth, she’s yet again trying to defeat the beast that has traveled from it’s old site in her thyroid to it’s new home in her lungs. Her doctor suggests a support group for cancer survivors; something she wants no part of. She eventually starts attending at the behest of her parents, but hates every minute of it. That is until she bumps into Augustus Waters on the way to the literal Heart of Jesus. The two teenage cancer survivors hit it off rather quickly, spending copious amounts of time in each other company. The two bond over a book that has been Hazel’s obsession for quite some time called An Imperial Affliction. After Gus reads it, feeling the same empty feelings, he suggests that Hazel contact the author for answers to her questions. She tells Gus she has multiple times, never receiving an answer. Gus, however, contacts the author on his own and arranges for Hazel and himself to travel to meet him and hopefully get the answers to their lost questions.
Even though the subjects are teenagers, the story and tribulations they go through can apply to all ages. Undoubtedly most people who will go to see this have read the book and those fans should be happy with adaptation. It’s faithfulness to the source material is fantastic and Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber should be proud of their version of the script they’ve written. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort both knock it out of the park with their performances as Hazel and Gus. Woodley perfectly plays the frail, but completely loving Hazel. Elgort also does a fantastic job portraying Gus, exuding all the self confidence and charm that he had portrayed in the book. The cast is rounded out nicely by Nat Wolff who plays Isaac, Laura Dern and Sam Trammell as Hazel’s parents and comedian Mike Birbiglia as the always annoying Patrick.
The reason The Fault In Our Stars is a great movie isn’t because it’s an adaptation of one of the most popular current young adult novels. What makes it a great film is because it’s a faithful adaptation. Neustadter and Weber adapted the novel into a screenplay without changing any major things, which really makes it shine. It also tells an incredibly important story. It’s not about love, it’s about living. Hazel and Gus only spend a short amount of time together, but it’s the quality of that time, enjoying each others company that makes it worth living.
Rating: 9 out of 10 – The film version is a faithful adaptation of the beloved teen novel. The script rarely deviates from the source material and that’s important. The actors also play their parts perfectly so that they seem like the characters from the book and not just some kids playing the part. It’s a tearjerker that sure to induce plenty of sobbing for fans of the book and newcomers alike.