June 4, 2014 at 8:57 am #154305
Opens on Friday, June 6, 2014. Released by Fox 2000 Pictures.
Starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Willem Dafoe
Written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
Directed by Josh Boone
The novel by John Green is a YA bestselling sensation that doesn’t read like usual works of that genre. I thought it was great, and the casting choices for the film (on paper at least) are very strong ones. I’m hoping for the best with this film.
Reviews forthcoming.June 4, 2014 at 9:01 am #154307
I am hoping it’s really good. My sister wants to see it and literally told me the following: “Nobody wants to see this with me so I’m dragging you to see this on Friday”. So that was that.June 4, 2014 at 9:07 am #154308
Hollywood Reporter’s review:
The Fault in Our Stars: Film Review
4:00 PM PDT 6/3/2014 by Justin Lowe
The Bottom Line: Love conquers affliction to endearing effect.
Opens: June 6 (Fox 2000 Pictures)
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Nat Wolff, Willem Dafoe
Director: Josh Boone
Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort star in Josh Boone’s adaptation of John Green’s best-selling young adult novel.
With interest in adapting John Green’s fourth novel running high even before its 2012 debut atop The New York Times best-seller list, Twilight producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen managed to snatch up the film rights to the hugely popular narrative, which may have been a bit of a “be careful what you wish for” moment. With the book’s millions of adoring fans eagerly anticipating the movie’s release, a distinct risk of blow-back was practically built in to the project.
Fortunately, director Josh Boone and his filmmaking team appear to have minimized the downside, in part by casting fast-rising star Shailene Woodley in the lead, along with her Divergent franchise co-star Ansel Elgort. Both are likely to be strong selling points with the film’s youth-skewing target audience, which is being further softened up by a robust marketing campaign and Green’s own substantial social media presence. With the onset of summer vacation and few similar distractions in theaters at the outset, The Fault in Our Stars should perform strongly out of the gate, with the potential to show significant staying power in the weeks following.
If any teenager can reasonably be described as “ordinary,” then 16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster (Woodley) is far from it. A cancer survivor since the age of 13, she’s fully in possession of both keen intelligence and sharp wit, if not her health—a challenging combination for a kid who could clearly do with a few more friends than she actually has. Instead, her most constant companions are the oxygen tank connected to the breathing tube that supports her seriously compromised lungs, along with her concerned mother, Frannie (Laura Dern), and protective father, Michael (Sam Trammell).
Hazel gets a chance to branch out when, at the urging of both her mom and her doctor, she joins an often lame though occasionally amusing church-based cancer-survivor support group, where she meets 18-year-old Augustus “Gus” Waters (Elgort), an equally precocious teen with a rather more constructive outlook than Hazel’s. Despite losing a leg to cancer, his disease is in remission and he’s dreaming of new ways to conquer the world, along with his best friend Isaac (Nat Wolff), who’s battling the affliction as well. Irreverent rather than cynical, he freely shares that he intends to “live an extraordinary life” and bonds with Hazel over her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, written by Dutch-American author Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe), which just happens to be about living with cancer.
Hazel is borderline obsessed with contacting the elusive Van Houten, but he never responds to her missives. So it’s a bit shocking and even overwhelming when the writer’s assistant replies to an email from Gus soliciting information about Van Houten’s book. Then Hazel gets a message from Van Houten himself, and the author invites her to visit if she’s ever in Amsterdam. Hazel and Gus, who often insists on calling her “Hazel Grace,” quickly cook up a plan to make the trip, but it’s nixed by Hazel’s doctors and parents, concerned that the stress of the journey will strain her lungs and disrupt the experimental cancer-drug treatment she’s dependent on for her survival.
Meanwhile, Gus is falling hard for Hazel, who is fairly smitten herself, but as her condition worsens, she pulls back, telling Gus “I’m a grenade and one day I’m going to explode and obliterate everything in my wake.” Undeterred, he counters that her withdrawal doesn’t lessen his affection for her, and when he manages to find an unexpected method of funding their travel, the plan is back on again. As both teens face suddenly critical health issues, however, the outcome of both the trip and their increasingly romantic relationship becomes appreciably more uncertain.
The greatest strengths of the film clearly come from Green’s novel, which resolutely refuses to become a clichéd cancer drama, creating instead two vibrant, believable young characters filled with humor and intelligence, both facing complex questions and issues unimaginable even to people twice their age. Turning the screenwriting over to adaptation experts Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber has preserved the distinctly literate tone of the book, even if they do occasionally deliver scenes that feel overwrought.
The script makes an excellent fit for Woodley, whose feature film career really took off with The Descendants and The Spectacular Now, two similarly smart, self-aware films. Woodley’s wise and accomplished take on Hazel Lancaster will resonate with those inclined to view the world with a somewhat skeptical point of view, although they may face similar resistance to the prospect of romance entering her life. By dint of ample charm and considerable insight, Elgort’s Gus represents more than a foil for Hazel’s self-doubt—he offers her the opportunity to mold all of her hope and frustration into a fully three-dimensional, transcendent emotional experience, whether she wants to call that “love” or not.
As Hazel’s protective but practical parents, Dern and Trammell display a realistic degree of concern without completely smothering her, and when crisis erupts, their instinctual compassion quickly restores calm. Wolff, whose character loses both eyes to cancer, provides some suitably dark humor, although it’s left to Dafoe as the acerbic author whose young daughter succumbed to the disease to deftly deliver the film’s least reassuring perspective.
Boone’s appropriately light touch emphasizes the underlying literary material, foregrounding the performances with occasional underplayed visual humor and reserving stylistic nuance for more contemplative scenes, attractively framed by cinematographer Ben Richardson. Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott’s score somewhat literally underlines the overly insistent, folky-leaning soundtrack selections from the likes of Tom Odell, Lykke Li, and Ray LaMontagne.
Production company: Temple Hill Entertainment
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Nat Wolff, Willem Dafoe, Lotte Verbeek, Mike Birbiglia
Director: Josh Boone
Screenwriters: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Producers: Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen
Executive producers: Michele Imperato Stabile, Isaac Klausner
Director of photography: Ben Richardson
Production designer: Molly Hughes
Costume designer: Mary Claire Hannan
Editor: Robb Sullivan
Music: Mike Mogis, Nate Walcott
Rated PG-13, 125 minutesJune 4, 2014 at 9:17 am #154309
Considering I’m going to get dragged to see this by my sister. I hope this is another surprise to me like how Water for Elephants was.June 4, 2014 at 9:18 am #154310
Film Review: The Fault in Our Stars
June 3, 2014 | 04:00PM PT
A never-better Shailene Woodley anchors director Josh Boone’s tricky cancer-themed melodrama.
Senior Features Writer
Though it’s correctly categorized as a teen romance, The Fault in Our Stars is above all a movie about cancer. Cancer provides the butt of the film’s most caustic jokes, provides the magnetic pull that first draws its star-crossed couple together, and provides the power with which the story eventually starts to squeeze its viewers’ tear ducts like water balloons in a pressure cooker. As such, it walks a knife’s edge between heart-on-sleeve sensitivity and crass exploitation for its entire running time, and the fact that it largely stays on the right side of that divide has to mark it as a success. Soulfully acted, especially by a never-better Shailene Woodley, and several degrees smarter than most films aimed at teenagers, this Fox melodrama ought to strike a resonant chord with young audiences.
Based on John Green’s bestselling novel, the film offers the first-person accounts of Hazel Grace Lancaster (Woodley), a bright 16-year-old who can hardly remember not living with cancer. She came perilously close to death as a preteen, but an experimental “miracle” treatment beat her disease back to relatively manageable levels: She has to breathe from a tube tethered to an oxygen tank she lugs around like a carry-on bag, and her lifespan has no clear prognosis, but she’s far from helpless.
Her parents (Laura Dern, Sam Trammell) are a loving, lovable pair who worry that Hazel is becoming depressed, as she has no friends and spends her time endlessly rereading reclusive author Peter Van Houten’s postmodern cancer-themed novel, An Imperial Affliction. After some insistently gentle prodding, she agrees to attend a weekly church-basement support group hosted by sappy Jesus freak Patrick (Mike Birbiglia).
Here she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a strapping, clever, impossibly handsome 18-year-old whose basketball career was cut short when cancer took his right leg, but who appears to have since made a full recovery. He asks Hazel out on a series of chaste hangout dates, reads her favorite book, stays up until the wee hours on the phone with her, and ever-so-gradually brings her out of her shell.
Hazel is a great character, tart without being cynical, vulnerable without being needy, and capable of tossing out bons mots like “I’m the Keith Richards of cancer kids” without seeming like a writerly construct. Augustus is decidedly less developed, essentially functioning as a male version of the types of restorative free spirits usually played by Kate Hudson and Kirsten Dunst in Cameron Crowe movies, and prone to dandyish flourishes—particularly his habit of brandishing an unlit cigarette as a sort of totemistic charm against death—that surely worked better as literary metaphors than visual ones. But their rapport is believable, their chemistry palpable, and the film is never more likable than when it unhurriedly lingers on their low-key courtship.
A few weeks into their relationship, Augustus springs a big surprise: Calling in a favor from a Make-a-Wish-type foundation, he’s arranged a trip for the two of them to Amsterdam, where Van Houten (Willem Dafoe) has apparently agreed to sit down with Hazel and answer her infinite questions about his book. (In one of the pic’s most darkly funny scenes, Augustus mocks Hazel for wasting her wish on a trip to Disney World, “pre-miracle.”)
It’s in Amsterdam that the film opens up visually—ditching the closeups and domestic interior scenes to take in the well-photographed surroundings—and Hazel and Augustus forge their most affecting connections. It’s also the only section where the film tips fully over into uncomfortable kitsch, as the couple experiences a romantic breakthrough during a visit to Anne Frank’s attic, while voiceovers recite passages from The Diary of a Young Girl. The film may get away with using cancer to tug the heartstrings, but combining cancer and the Holocaust is at least one trigger too many.
But this glaring misstep only goes to demonstrate just how well the film has navigated these choppy waters thus far. Director Josh Boone is hardly the most distinctive cinematic stylist, but he’s smart enough to let his scenes linger for a few beats longer than most mainstream directors would, and seems to trust his actors to carry their own dramatic weight.
Woodley repays that trust in spades. With close-cropped hair and minimal makeup, she eschews any overly theatrical tics, rarely oversells her character’s goodness and wit—even when her lines seem to be begging for it—and manages to convincingly convey terminal illness without invoking easy pathos. Though her character may be 16, Woodley’s performance is thoroughly adult, and offers a reminder that, while the occasional multipart blockbuster franchise like Divergent can theoretically be part of a balanced diet for a young actress, she has much more to offer the cinema than an ability to run through obstacle courses while mouthing mealy mythology.
Woodley’s Divergent co-star Elgort can’t match her level of naturalism, and his cocky, smirking self-confidence never quite jibes with his displays of boundless selflessness where Hazel is concerned, but he’s ultimately charming enough to wear down most resistance.
The screenplay, adapted by The Spectacular Now scripters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, does contain a few clunkers, and lays it on a bit thick toward the end, with a procession of scenes ruthlessly rigged to target the few remaining dry eyes in the theater. But on the whole, the scribes give their audience a good deal of credit, looping in some interesting references to neuroethics and calculus without overexplaining or dumbing them down.
Film Review: The Fault in Our Stars
Reviewed at Fox Studios, Century City, Calif., May 27, 2014. MPAA rating: PG-13. Running time: 126 MIN.
A 20th Century Fox release of a Fox 2000 Pictures presentation of a Temple Hill production. Produced by Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen. Executive producers, Michele Imperato Stabile, Isaac Klausner.
Directed by Josh Boone. Screenplay, Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, from the book by John Green. Camera (color), Ben Richardson; editor, Robb Sullivan; music, Mike Mogis, Nathaniel Walcott; music supervisor, Season Kent; production designer, Molly Hughes; costume designer, Mary Claire Hannan; art director, Gregory Weimerskirch; set decorator, Merissa Lombardo; sound (Dolby/Datasat/SDDS), Jim Emswiller; supervising sound editor, Donald Sylvester; re-recording mixers, Andy Nelson, Sylvester; visual effects supervisor, Jake Braver; assistant director, H.H. Cooper; casting, Ronna Kress.
Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Nat Wolff, Willem Dafoe, Lotte Verbeek, Mike Birbiglia.June 4, 2014 at 11:43 am #154311
I never understood the hype for her in The Descendants, but she was perfect in The Spectacular Now.June 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm #154312
Woodley is really poised to blow up big time, which kind of happened with Divergent, but if I’m being honest, I expect this to be the bigger hit. Even if it doesn’t make as much $$, this is the movie that’s gonna make her a household name. I loved her in The Descendants and loved her again in The Spectacular Now. She was easily the best part of Divergent, and I have high hopes for her in TFIOS. I read the book and it’s encouraging to hear the adaptation goes over mostly well. It has the opportunity to be a great movie. I’ve loved Weber and Neustadter’s work, starting with 500 Days of Summer, then The Spectacular Now, and hopefully this will add on to the list. This movie should have great legs throughout the summer. I’ll make this comparison, and maybe take some heat for it, but I’ll say it anyway: On a lesser scale, Divergent is to Woodley what Hunger Games was to JLaw, and TFIOS has the opportunity to be for Woodley what Silver Linings Playbook was for Lawrence. Not saying Shailene is gonna win an Oscar for this or come close to being as big a star as Jennifer, but on a smaller scale, that’s how I view her career path, which is fine by me.June 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm #154313
Entertainment Weekly’s review:
The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Reviewed by Chris Nashawaty on Jun 04, 2014 @ChrisNashawaty
Release Date: Jun 06, 2014; Rated: PG-13; Length: 125 Minutes; Genres: Drama, Romance; With: Laura Dern, Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley.
In the opening voice-over of the funny, sweet, three-hankie tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars, Shailene Woodley’s terminally ill 16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster tells the audience what kind of movie they’re about to see. Or rather, what kind they’re not about to see. ”I believe we have a choice in this world about how to tell sad stories,” she says. ”On the one hand, you can sugarcoat it—nothing is too messed up that it can’t be fixed with a Peter Gabriel song. I like that version as much as the next girl does.” But, she concludes, that’s not the truth. It’s been four decades since Love Story turned young love doomed by cancer into saccharine Hallmark hooey. And it’s safe to say that Hazel Grace would have hated that film. A generation of teens like her have been weaned on YA novels (including the 2012 John Green best-seller this is based on), leading to more discerning palates. They can sniff out condescension from a thousand yards. That’s why they’re lucky to have an actress as effortlessly charismatic and natural as 22-year-old Woodley (The Descendants, Divergent) as their stand-in.
Her Hazel Grace, despite a diagnosis of thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs, is nobody’s martyr. She’s a sarcastic straight shooter who has accepted her fate and isn’t ashamed about the tubes under her nose or the unwieldy oxygen tank she has to lug around like a millstone. Then she meets a cancer survivor named Augustus at a support group, and his sunny worldview throws her. Gus, played by Woodley’s Divergent costar Ansel Elgort, lost his leg to the disease but remains unrelentingly upbeat. And he woos Hazel Grace as if his life depended on it; you get the impression that in some ways maybe it does. He takes her on picnics, they read each other’s favorite books. He even whisks her and her mother (an excellent Laura Dern) off to Amsterdam to meet her favorite author. In other words, he’s too good to be true. That’s the main flaw with Josh Boone’s otherwise poignant film. In Gus’ manic wish-fulfillment adorableness, he’s as eager to please as a litter of cocker-spaniel puppies. It’s as grating as it is hard to buy. I realize that complaint may sound heartless and might not wash with fans of the book who have a ton invested in these characters already, but I couldn’t help wondering what kind of spiky unpredictability a Say Anything-era John Cusack would have brought to the character—with or without the requisite Peter Gabriel song.
Grade: BJune 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm #154314
Honestly, this looks to me like another cheesy teen rom-com… but I’ve been wrong before.
FYC: Ready Player One. Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Original Score, Production Design, Director and BEST PICTURE (make it happen Oscars!!)June 4, 2014 at 4:14 pm #154315
So, it’s Shailene Woodley Oscar-contender? I haven’t seen the film yet.June 4, 2014 at 6:53 pm #154316
I have about as much enthusiasm to see this as I would having lunch in a slaughter house. And I can just imagine how this is presented to us all.June 4, 2014 at 7:11 pm #154317
I read a very positive review on usatoday.com and at my local B&N, they were almost out of copies and the sales clerk said the last book to movie to do that well was Hunger Games. I doubt it’ll do $400 million but this could easily approach The Help in terms of domestic gross. Audience seems primed and not a whole lot in this sector right now so it should have legs. Heck The Other Women did $80 million domestic and that wasn’t even passable!June 4, 2014 at 7:35 pm #154318
USA TODAY’s review:
The Fault in Our Stars is nearly flawless
Claudia Puig, USA TODAY 6:44 p.m. EDT June 4, 2014
Pain demands to be felt.
That’s a key line in John Green’s beloved 2012 best-seller The Fault in Our Starsand a major component in the movie adaptation (* * * 1/2 out of four stars; rated PG-13; opens Thursday night in select cities and Friday nationwide).
Pain is at the heart of a love story about two strikingly articulate teens living in “the Republic of Cancervania.” They cope with it daily and wryly acknowledge its torment. The pain depicted is not solely physical, though that’s a significant component. Emotional agony proves to be the toughest of all.
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.
Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is a bright and irreverent 16-year-old. Diagnosed with cancer at 13, she has to breathe from a tube connected to an oxygen tank she must carry everywhere. But she will not allow illness to define her.
At the behest of her loving mom (Laura Dern), Hazel reluctantly attends a support group for cancer survivors. Still, Hazel’s biggest passion is losing herself in An Imperial Affliction, a novel by a mysterious Amsterdam-based author.
One afternoon, a new boy stops by the support group. Augustus “Gus” Waters (Ansel Elgort) is a strapping 17-year-old who has lost part of a leg to cancer. He and Hazel share an instant connection, and the whip-smart pair trade barbs, strike up a friendship, then fall in love.
One of the movie’s biggest assets is its spot-on casting. Woodley, so superb in last year’s The Spectacular Now and 2011’s The Descendants, comes across as a fusion of soulful, wickedly funny and vulnerable. Gus says adorably romantic things like, “It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.”
Young girls will swoon over Gus’ appealing blend of wholesome and rakish. Older audiences will appreciate the naturalistic dialogue.
Hazel shares her favorite book with Gus and they lament its abrupt ending, longing to know what happened after the last page. Gus cashes in a gift and arranges for the two of them to go to Amsterdam to meet the mysterious author, Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe).
Their encounter with Van Houten is strange, but intriguing. However, a scene in which they kiss in the Anne Frank House, inspiring strangers to applaud, stands out for its artificiality (to be fair, it’s also in the book).
As co-written by Green and the superb screenwriting team of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (who wrote (500) Days of Summer and The Spectacular Now), the script makes only minor modifications to the book, omitting extraneous characters and non-essential dialogue.
Hazel and Gus must endure far more suffering than anyone their age should. That these immensely likable young people should be stricken with terminal illness is supremely unfair, making their love story all the more poignant.
When things go south, they remind each other: “The world is not a wish-granting factory.”
The Fault in Our Stars does, however, grant the audience’s wish for a literate, exuberant, and wise teen romance.June 5, 2014 at 7:27 am #154319
i can’t wait to see this movie and cry my heart out!June 5, 2014 at 8:05 am #154320
NY Times’ review:
Young Love, Complicated by Cancer
“The Fault in Our Stars“ Sets Out to Make You Cry
by A. O. SCOTT JUNE 5, 2014
“The world is not a wish-granting factory.” That line, from “The Fault in Our Stars,” is undoubtedly true, and it is also true that the movie, like the book before it, is an expertly built machine for the mass production of tears. Directed by Josh Boone (“Stuck in Love”) with scrupulous respect for John Green’s best-selling young-adult novel, the film sets out to make you weep—not just sniffle or choke up a little, but sob until your nose runs and your face turns blotchy. It succeeds.
But then again, a brief survey of the story and its themes might make you wonder how it could possibly fail. The main character—whose voice-over narration, drawn verbatim from Mr. Green’s pages, frames the story—is Hazel Grace Lancaster, a teenager who has lived most of her life with the lymphoma she expects will end it very soon. She falls in love with Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), known as Gus, a fellow “cancer kid” who has lost part of his leg to the disease but who has been healthy since then and is determined to lead “an extraordinary life.”
As played by Shailene Woodley, a gifted actress grabbing hold of her moment with both hands, Hazel is witty, compassionate, and as lovely as a day in June. Her plucky rejection of the usual “cancer story” sentiments becomes a potent form of sentimentality in its own right, and her brave refusal of self-pity ensures the audience’s infinite sympathy. “The only thing that bites worse than having cancer is having a kid with cancer,” she says, and her compassion is borne out by the stricken faces of her parents (Sam Trammell and Laura Dern, both excellent in thinly sketched roles).
Ms. Woodley plays nearly every scene with a plastic oxygen tube anchored to her nostrils and splayed across her face (Hazel’s lymphoma affects her lungs), but her un-self-conscious performance is the perfect mirror of her character’s pragmatic temperament. Because she never asks for our approval, we are entirely in her thrall. Gus, meanwhile, is such a handsome bundle of chivalry, positive energy, and impish self-deprecation that we may swoon over him even before Hazel does. With an unlighted cigarette wedged into his crooked, cocky grin, he is a perfect romantic hero, complete with a semigoofy sidekick (Nat Wolff).
But what can you say about a girl who . . . ? The question is not meant to be a spoiler, but rather a point of reference. A long time ago, a movie called “Love Story,” also based on a best seller with terminal illness in its plot, swept through the popular culture and landed its female lead on the cover of Time. The film was potent and memorable without being all that good. And yet it is still possible, all these years later, to laugh at the stilted dialogue and awkwardly staged scenes and find yourself wet-eyed and raspy-voiced at the end.
However it might look in 40 years, “The Fault in Our Stars” seems at first glance like a much better picture, thanks to Ms. Woodley’s discipline and to a script by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber that takes an unhurried, amiable approach to the story. Their earlier screenplays, “500 Days of Summer” and “The Spectacular Now” (also starring Ms. Woodley), were offbeat variations on sturdy romantic-comedy themes, and here they smartly emphasize the dry, idiosyncratic notes in Mr. Green’s sometimes pushy prose.
I’m about to venture onto dangerous ground. Mr. Green’s book is beloved, the emotional power of Mr. Boone’s movie is undeniable, and the real-world experiences behind both are so terrible and complicated that mild skepticism can look like gross insensitivity. Part of the ingenuity of “The Fault in Our Stars” is the way it short-circuits any potential criticism through a combination of winsome modesty and brazen manipulation. These kids are so nice, so wise, so good-humored, and they also may be dying. What kind of a monster could look at them and find fault?
One answer is supplied within the film itself, in the person of Peter Van Houten, a writer whose novel—a cancer story called “An Imperial Affliction”—is a particular obsession of Hazel’s. She shares it with Gus, and the two travel to Amsterdam to find the reclusive author, played with fine, unshaven, whiskey-soaked misanthropy by Willem Dafoe. Van Houten impatiently lectures his visitors on the differences between fiction and reality, but his theoretical points strike them, and are meant to strike us, as both untrue and unkind.
The quarrel between the novelist and his fans, the only real conflict in the film other than the one with disease, is essentially a battle between argument and feeling. It’s hardly a fair fight, and the way it is rigged—fresh-faced, innocent, possibly dying young people facing off against a cynical, broken-down, alcoholic old wreck—provides a clue to the emotional logic of “The Fault in Our Stars.” It’s less a movie about cancer than a depiction—really a celebration—of adolescent narcissism.
Though it is a tragic love story, it is also a perfect and irresistible fantasy. Hazel and Gus possess an absolute moral authority, an ability to assert the truth of their experience that few can share and many might covet. They know the meaning of their own lives, and try as it might, the movie can’t help but give cancer credit for this state of perfection. There is something disturbing about that, and also, therefore, about the source of some of the tears the movie calls forth. The loudest weeping you hear—including your own—may arise not from grief or admiration, but from envy.
“The Fault in Our Stars” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Normal adolescent language and behavior, but not too much of it.
The Fault in Our Stars
Opens on Friday.
Directed by Josh Boone; written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, based on the novel by John Green; director of photography, Ben Richardson; edited by Robb Sullivan; music by Mike Mogis and Nathaniel Walcott; production design by Molly Hughes; costumes by Mary Claire Hannan; produced by Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen; released by 20th Century Fox. Running time: 2 hours 5 minutes.
WITH: Shailene Woodley (Hazel Grace Lancaster), Ansel Elgort (Augustus Waters), Laura Dern (Frannie), Sam Trammell (Michael), Nat Wolff (Isaac) and Willem Dafoe (Peter Van Houten).
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