The Fault In Our Stars Review


John Green’s hit teen romance novel is brought to the big screen with Divergent stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as the troubled couple. When terminally ill Hazel meets Gus at her cancer support group they quickly become friends.  Hazel soon finds it hard to avoid escalating romantic feelings between them despite her intention of making sure her inevitable death affects as few people as possible.

The Good:

Shailene Woodley first caught attention in The Descendants as George Clooney’s troublesome daughter. A film in which she showed she can has the raw acting ability needed to make cinema audiences everywhere cry their eyes out. In The Fault In Our Stars she proves it yet again and even manages to surpass her previous efforts.

Hazel is cynical from the start and readily displays a sharply acerbic wit. However, importantly her attitude rarely seems particularly angry. When films approach the sensitive subject of cancer and adolescence it’s often hard to avoid the cliché of merely making characters constantly abrasive and hostile. By welcome contrast Shailene Woodley’s performance feels simply matter-of-fact. The fact being that she will probably die in the near future. Woodley brings Hazel to life flawlessly and doesn’t beg for audiences pity.

When Hazel meets Gus (Elgort) the connection is instantly easy to see. Woodley and Elgort capture a raw chemistry that will have you smiling from ear to ear. Gus’ easygoing attitude and self-evident love for Hazel is incredibly beautiful. Particularly as Gus goes to incredible lengths to demonstrate his love, such as his quest to find out what happens after the end of Hazel’s favourite book.

In the aftermath of Divergent, Woodley and Elgort both prove more than capable headlining a film, each injecting considerable personality and subtle poignancy.

The Bad:

Whilst the two young leads do bring an incredibly realistic chemistry to the screen, the story feels strangely familiar. Though it will inevitably bring tears, it will also bring along with it memories of other films of the same subject matter. One such example is My Sisters Keeper, which shares themes and emotional resonance if not necessarily matching plot points.

Willem Defoe’s undoubted talents are largely left unused during his appearance as Peter Van Houten, the author of Hazel’s favorite book. Likewise much of the supporting cast fade into the background, including Hazel’s Parents. The film sacrifices attention to its supporting figures to streamline its romantic narrative and fix focus firmly on its young leads. It’s understandable but denies the film some interesting territory to explore.

The Ugly Truth:

The Faults In Our Stars largely deserves it’s box office hype and delivers a well-crafted adaptation of John Green’s beautiful novel. Led ably by the performance its two young stars the film will linger in the hearts and minds of audiences long after they’ve wiped away the tears.

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