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The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars


Title - The Fault in Our Stars
My Admission - $5.50
One Line Review - The Few but Pertinent Faults in Our Film Necessitate That I Also Promote the Book.


Review – John Green’s 2012 novel, “The Fault in Our Stars” is a fantastic perspective altering journey of a few young adults living and dying with cancer. This film adaption of Green’s novel is a pretty good introduction/companion to the book. Standing on firm film legs, which are less concerned with perspective, the film builds some nice and certainly likable characters, while keeping the pomp and sadness of the “cancer story” to a minimum. Audience’s will most likely laugh and cry appropriately but they will largely remain unchanged by the theatrical experience. That’s too bad because they’ll feel as though they’ve received or understood enough of Green’s original message, and are then more likely to miss a short and wonderful novel while comfortably enjoying a good movie that could have been great.

Shailene Woodley stars as Hazel, a 17 year old teen who beat Thyroid cancer only to earn a satellite colony of metastasis in her lungs. Living in the shadow of expectant death, Hazel turns the typical teenage angst into a powerful and practical perspective on life. Ansel Elgort plays Augustus, an atypical cocky teen and cancer survivor who Hazel meets in Support Group. The 2 together share a journey of inspired discovery and equally practical stoicism. These kids are smart, interesting, and entirely too affected, a side effect of cancer, to be completely normal.

Director Josh Boone’s film feels very comfortable and bright considering the material. The film itself is shot like a budding romance, all brightly lit and spacious, ensuring and encouraging strength as it identifies us with young cancer patients in a way that refuses to sullen and darken the material or its characters. The film soars on this note; it’s certainly uplifting but not powerfully so. The film delivers enough solid points concerning the life of a teen/young adult with cancer to notify the audience that we have some very special people here, people with a truly inspired perspective, but it keeps them on a short leash, hindering each character’s full bloom.

“The Fault in Our Stars” is forward and direct in most cases, remember these kids don’t have a lot of time to beat around the bush, and that in itself demonstrates the potential of the film’s power. In my opinion, the film pulls up a little short on its sharing. There were a lot of simple and powerful concepts in the book that audiences could find inspiring. Conversely there were some moments of dead-space in the film that these concepts could have easily filled in. I believe they’d have giving the picture a depth and final impact that could have been considered life-altering; certainly, dare I say it, Oscar worthy. I’m a little bummed that the film didn’t deliver that completely but I still enjoyed it, and you should too.

The film’s script, written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber is sharp and solid enough for the first half of the film. However, as it crosses that mid-line the film finds itself giving into the small denominators of the “cancer story.” It really feels like the film gets timid with its growth and seems to over-simplify or omit John Green’s surprisingly simple insights and wakefulness during the last half of the picture. But don’t let me sell this whole tale short, these screenwriter’s are responsible for both “500 Days of Summer” and “The Spectacular Now.” As a work, “The Fault in Our Stars” deserves to sit proudly as a welcome addition to these predecessors.

To bottom line you, “The Fault in Our Stars” is an enjoyable and likable film; well enough written, cast and shot. The film is poignant, moving, and illuminating; though I hesitate to say truly memorable. The film pulls on the reins when it could be diving head first into the lives of a few characters who have just enough time to be direct, honest, lovely, and equally as bright as any star in the night sky.


Movie Information

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language
Starring:  Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe Nat Wolff, Sam Trammell, Lotte Verbeek, Mike Birbiglia
Director: Josh Boone
Producers:  Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey
Screenwriter: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Webber
Cinematographer:  Ben Richardson
Editor:  Robb Sullivan
Art Director:  Gregory A. Weimerskirch
Composer: Mike Mogis, Nate Walcott
Running Time: 126 minutes
Genre: Drama, Romance

Turn Down The Lights, Turn Up The Sound.

Matthew Gilbert © 1999-2015 All Rights Reserved

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