The Fault In Our Stars appears to be a breath-taking adaptation of the novel. Put succinctly, it is charming, tender, and above all (and most important) unromantic. The film deals with love, disease, and ultimate demise, but it is by no means some idealised account that an angst-riddled teen scribbled out in the wee hours of the morning. No, TFIOS is generously imperfect. What is so surprising about the film is that one wouldn’t think a story about two cancer patients would be quite so hilarious; however, there are times where the silence in the theater is heavy and broken by the occasional loud and deep sob. Fans of the novel (and they are really among the craziest ever) will be pleased to know that a solid two-thirds of the dialogue comes directly from the book—and considering that John Green was on the set, one would expect nothing less. The book doesn’t immediately scream film material, but the entire world of Green’s head translates smoothly onto the screen.
|Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort in TFIOS
The casting is nearly perfect. Shailene Woodley’s last film, Divergent, was a miserable experience, but she is most certainly deserving of all of her praise in TFIOS; she is brilliant and fearless as Hazel, and does the community she represents justice. Not once do we feel like we are watching a caricature of an afflicted person; she doesn’t scream for pity and is steadfast and respectful. Even the slight intonations of her voice mirror the cancer in her lungs. Her costar (and brother in Divergent), Ansel Elgort, is charming and gorgeous as Augustus. As actors, people and characters, the two are completely responsive to one another, and their romance is exceedingly believable. Elgort is narcissistic and self-aggrandizing, but there comes a time—very brief and not overdone—where cracks start to appear in the façade, and one two-minute scene redefines the film. The film’s many surprises revolve around the character played by Willem Dafoe; he sneaks out of nowhere to portray a wilting alcoholic author who, so awesomely, trashes the dreams of the two characters, telling them that they do not deserve pity nor special treatment in the wake of their disease. But the star of this film really is Nat Wolff (Stuck In Love, 2012) as blind Nat, offering much warmth and wit. And as the lead in the next Green adaptation, Paper Towns, fans can certainly rejoice in seeing his face on-screen soon.
|Shailene Woodley and Nat Wolff in TFIOS
|Filmgoers who have not read TFIOS have a nasty surprise waiting for them towards the end, but there is never a moment where one can lament the surprises in the plot. The story is so real. Green is original and unclichéd in the film adaptation—so much so it puts others to shame (fans rejoice). As for this reviewer, I am desperately waiting for what Greene does next.
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