You would think that a film about teenagers with cancer would not be uplifting and yet somehow The Fault in Our Stars is. It most certainly is a film that will have you laughing and crying. It is transparent in its manipulation of your emotions and that is why it works. You know what you are getting into when you watch a film like this. And that is alright.
Hazel (Shailene Woodley – from television’s Big Little Lies), a teenager with cancer, leads a rather sheltered life due to her illness. Her only real companion is the oxygen tank she has to lug around everywhere. At the support group her doctor and mother (Laura Dern – from television’s Big Little Lies) force her to go to she meets Augustus (Ansel Elgort – Divergent, Baby Driver). He also has cancer and lost his leg as a result. Augustus is a smart and not your typical teenager. And that is why they get along. It also helps them cope better with their diseases to have someone who understands.
Augustus and Hazel spend a lot of time together and when they are not together they are texting. Though Hazel insists that they should not get involved as she is a “time bomb”. Her cancer is terminal whereas Augustus’s is in remission. She doesn’t want to hurt him. He is persistent.
The two young actors here share the burden of the film and wear the weight well. Each manages to make their characters relatable – living, breathing. Both are so good you forget they are actors and are submerged and invested in everything they are going through – good and bad. Lastly, the chemistry between the two (they have starred in a couple of films together) is great.
Fans of the book will be happy. It is true to the best-selling novel by John Green. Director Josh Boone (Stuck in Love) keeps things as set out on the page as much as possible. Not a shot or scene seemed unnecessary. You will be sucked in early and hard.
The conclusion is predictably bittersweet. Not a happy ending, but one that will leave you with hope. Have the kleenex at your side as you watch. Even those with hearts of stone will be affected.
-The Stars Align: Book to Screen
-The Scribe On Set
-Our Little Infinity
-The Music Behind Our Stars