The Fault In Our Stars (2014) – Film Review

The Fault In Our Stars

Starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort

Directed by Josh Boone, adapted from the book ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ by John Green

IMDB Rating: 8.0

Review written by Rachel Geiger.

Based on the popular Young Adult novel, this is a sad yet still beautiful and realistic look at the love story between two teenage cancer patients. However, the attempt to stay too close to the book makes it a little unnatural on screen.

Hazel Grace (Woodley) has accepted the fact that she has terminal thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. Her mom believes she is depressed and makes her go to depression support group. There she meets Gus (Elgort) who also has cancer but his is currently in remission. The two become closer and bond over the book, “An Imperial Affliction”. The two are unsatisfied with the novel and set off to talk to the author who has retreated to Amsterdam. So the two end up going to Amsterdam as part of Gus’s Make-A-Wish. Insert an interesting set of characters, especially the mean author the pair idolize.

The plot of this movie is beautiful, which is why the book is so beloved. It basically shows us the relationship of two teenagers that have cancer, something not typically portrayed in popular media. I think it’s good to show us this and in my opinion, it’s a very honest look at it. Sometimes the relationship is extremely awkward since both of them have limits that your average teenager lacks but it’s real and that’s what makes it so magical. In my opinion, the dialogue is exactly like the book. Yeah, that’s a good thing and people always complain if the movie strays away too far. But this movie stays uncomfortably close to the book and never really has it’s own artistic freedom here. Additionally, one big problem is that no teenage boy really talks like Gus does in the book and I think they should’ve stayed away from some of those quotes and created more natural lines.

The acting in the movie is what makes the book really come to life. Nat Wolff does a good job playing the part of Isaac, Gus’s friend who has cancer in his eyes and is forced to have surgery and lose his sight. He becomes a wreck when his girlfriend leaves him after he becomes blind and in a hilarious scene, Gus and Hazel go with him to egg his ex girlfriends house during broad daylight. Willem Dafoe has one of the best performances as Peter Van Houten, the rude author Hazel and Gus go to Amsterdam to see. Laura Dern and Sam Trammell are great as Hazel’s parents, Dern especially gives her all in this small yet still powerful role. As for the two leads, Woodley and Elgort have amazing chemistry. It’s not quite as good as her chemistry with Miles Teller in The Spectacular Now but it’s a pretty close second. The two play off each other extremely well and although the lines themselves may not seem natural for a teen to actually say, the interactions between the two still seem very real.

Director Josh Boone did a good job with this movie. He especially did an excellent job with all of the actors that were casted in their respective roles. He also really captured some of the most beautiful places in Amsterdam and made it look like it was summer. This is especially awesome considering the fact the film was actually filmed during the fall/early winter so it was very cold. But the film makes it seem as if it was the warmest and most beautiful place on Earth so props go to the director for this all around fine work!

As a whole, I don’t think that The Fault In Our Stars is a bad movie. It’s not the best movie I’ve ever seen but I think the main message from the book is translated well on screen. It still is emotional and heartbreaking which is what the audience is likely expecting. Overall, it’s a solid adaption of John Green’s famous novel. It was also two great performances from the young Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.