The Fault in Our Stars has been out for over a week now, so I feel confident in posting this now. You’ve all had time to run out and see it, right?!
If not, you’ll want to just move along because this post is packed with spoilers! But do come back once you’ve seen the film and let me know what you thought. 🙂
The Fault in Our Stars Review: The Negatives
Hazel Waiting for Augustus to Call
In the book, after Hazel calls Augustus for the first time, she believes that it is his turn to call her. So, she waits. Only, she doesn’t wait in a pining fashion. At least, she didn’t seem to in the book. She meets her friends for coffee, spends time with her parents, and generally goes on about her life. In the movie, though, we see a Hazel who is constantly checking her phone, looking anxious and disappointed. While I felt that this showed how much she liked him, I’m not a fan of the change. I liked that she wasn’t waiting impatiently for him to call. It added to her character, giving her even more confidence than she had already shown. I felt that this took away from her character in the film.
No Caroline Mathers Mention
If you’ve read the book, you will know that Augustus’s ex-girlfriend Caroline Mathers plays an important role in creating some of Hazel’s anxiety about becoming a grenade. So, I was surprised that she was not included in the film.
In the book, poetry plays such an important part. While on the plane, Hazel recites The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock byT.S. Eliot. There are so many similarities between the narrator of the poem and Hazel. In the book, it is easy to see them. Prufrock and Hazel are both un-drowned beings, suffering as the water tries to pull them under, but does not quite succeed. I understand that poetry isn’t conducive to ticket sales. You would never see a movie poster with “Starring Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley and with poetry by T.S. Eliot!” But I still felt that the poetry could have been incorporated.
No Bed Wetting Scene
This was probably one of my favorite scenes in the book, because it is so realistic. This happens. If you love someone with cancer, you see them humiliated. And you try to make them feel better, even though you, too, are humiliated. And there is this mutual humiliation that separates you, and I felt that the book did a great job demonstrating this in the bed wetting scene, but it wasn’t in the movie, which I found very disappointing.
The Fault in Our Stars Review: The Positives
I usually don’t rave about the cast, but Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort portrayed Gus and Hazel wonderfully. Even the secondary characters seemed true to the book. In fact, I didn’t find one actor or actress that did not do his/her role justice.
The Cut Cameo
Let me just say that when I heard that John Green was going to have a cameo, I was very much looking forward to it. When it was cut, I was very disappointed. I assumed, though, that he was probably a great writer but a terrible actor. I thought that the time constraints excuse was just that – an excuse – and that Green just hadn’t made the cut.
At the Night Before our Stars preview, I was able to watch the cut cameo. And, while I felt that John Green did a great job, I think that cutting his cameo was unavoidable. As soon as the camera panned to John Green, everyone in the audience started. There were literal shrieks. At least everyone had some kind of reaction, which was completely distracting. So, if he had actually been in the film, that kind of hype would have pulled everyone out of the movie’s story line. So, I felt that removing it was a wise decision, even though I had misgivings about it initially.
The Narrative Voice
I usually do not like movies with narrators, but I thoroughly enjoyed listen to Shailene narrate. The narration was not overdone. I felt that it was employed only when necessary. I’m not sure the movie would have had such an impact had it not been narrated. For example, when Gus dies (told you there would be spoilers – you did this to yourself!), the music dies down, and we just watch as Hazel cries and her parents run in. Then, she begins to narrate, telling the viewer about one of her first visits to the hospital, when she couldn’t breathe or speak. A nurse asked her to rate the pain, and she held up nine fingers. She tells this brief story and then says that the nurse had called her brave, because she had called a ten a nine. Hazel then says that she hadn’t called a ten a nine, she had saved her ten. And Gus’s death was it.
After that narration, I noticed the audience started crying even harder, which brings me to my final thought.
Oh, the feels!!!
Last week, a friend of mine got dumped. It was an ugly mess (they were very serious). Rather than weeping and cutting her hair, she decided to spend all of her free time enjoying the summer with her friends. She mentioned that she wanted to go watch The Fault in Our Stars to “get her mind off of things” and “have a laugh.” (I suppose some of the trailers are humorous). I stared at her for a moment, then said, “Do not see this movie to laugh. See this movie to cry like you’ve never cried.” I said this not because I want the movie producers to loose that $8 in ticket sales, but because this movie is not a distraction from life. You do not watch it because you want to be lifted up. It isn’t that kind of movie. It is a healing movie, because you get your heart crushed, but then you realize that it was all worth it. The pain, the suffering, everything, in the end, was worth it. And, I suppose, that is a kind of uplifting, but it isn’t the same as, say, watching a comedy. Before watching The Fault in our Stars, you have to be prepared to face the worst facts of life; life is not a wish granting factory. It is not fair. The point to it is fuzzy at best. This movie explores these things, and more. See it to grow, not to escape.
I hate to say “I loved it!” but, yunno, I loved it! I did. The cast was brilliant. The producers paid attention to so many details. The entire theater burst into tears, which is saying a lot. I don’t mean they wiped their eyes inconspicuously. There was sobbing. Full-on sobbing. In fact, my boyfriend (who so bravely accompanied me) pulled a single tissue from his pocket before the movie started and said, “Just in case.” When Gus died, he held it up, indicated to the mass of squalling teenagers and hissed, “I don’t think this is quite enough tissue.”