run time: 126 mins
considered: Drama, Romance
director: Josh Boone
starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Willem Dafoe, Lotte Verbeek, Ana Dela Cruz, Randy Kovitz, Toni Saladna, David Whalen, Milica Govich, Allegra Carpenter, Emily Peachey, Emily Bach
movie summary: Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is just an average 16-year-old girl who wishes she had a normal life and the capabilities to do what any other teenager could do. She has terminal thyroid cancer and carries around an oxygen tank to prevent her lungs from filling with water and killing her. In an attempt to get her to feel normal her mother Frannie (Laura Dern) convinces Hazel to attend a cancer support group that she reluctantly goes to. One day Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) comes to group therapy to support his best friend Issac (Nat Wolff) who is going blind. There’s an instant attraction between the Hazel and Augustus which blossoms into their first real romantic relationships.
Augustus lost his leg from the knee down, he is still upbeat and positive as someone can be who is dying of cancer. He believes Hazel is the most beautiful girl he has ever seen and decides to ask her out. As the pair stand outside the church Augustus pulls out a cigarette and Hazel snaps on him about ruining a perfectly good moment and the possibility of something special. He takes a moment to chuckle before explaining he’s never smoked one but he puts the cigarette in his mouth as a metaphor, he puts the thing that can kill him between his lips but doesn’t actually let it kill him. Hazel feels embarrassed over snapping and agrees to hang out with him even though she fears for her life while he drives.
The pair begin to spend time together and develop a relationship. Hazel recommends that Augustus read her favourite book, An Imperial Affliction, which he agrees if she takes the time to read one of his favourite action books. One night while talking about the book Hazel explains that she would do almost anything to find the author, Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe), so she can ask him questions about the ending of the book. Augustus asks her what she did with her one wish from the cancer foundation and she shamelessly admits she went to Disneyland, he laughs it off and reminds her that he still has his one wish. Within a few days he calls and informs her that he was able to track Van Houten and that he is in Amsterdam and he used up his one wish for the couple to go overseas.
Hazel’s doctors refuse to let her travel because of her condition, she begs and pleads based on the fact her life could end at any moment and that this trip would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. After mopping around for weeks about not being able to go on the trip, Hazel gets a surprise email from Van Houten’s assistant saying they can’t wait to meet her. Frannie has gone through the trouble of organizing the trip so Hazel and Augustus can go. The trio arrive in Amsterdam for their three-day trip, Hazel and Augustus go out for a really romantic dinner the night before meeting Van Houten. The next day they walk over to his place where they are find a drunk Van Houten who is extremely rude to them, making fun of their cancer problems. Hazel is crushed while Augustus is pissed, she snaps on Van Houten who kicks them out. They decide to walk around the city before sleeping together that night at the hotel. During their walk, Augustus mentions that since both are terminally ill that they should write eulogies for each other in the event that one of them happens to die. He wants to make sure Hazel knows how much he loves her and that she is his inspiration to continue to battle through his illness. She wants him to know that he means everything to her and that she feels really lucky to have a guy like him in her life.
The pair work on their writings before tragedy strikes and one of them falls terminally ill and dies.
my thoughts: I had a chance to see The Faults in Our Stars for free opening weekend but I passed, I was unsure how lame it would be. The following weekend I decided to get tickets because it was the only movie I hadn’t seen. I went into the movie not expecting much but in the end was happy I had a chance to watch it.
I understand the opening sentence in the last paragraph contradicts the last sentence but hear me out about this one. This is an amazing story, an amazing story about love conquering all, the fight people battling cancer have, and how two souls will do anything possible to spend every minute of their short lives together. I didn’t cry but I did wipe away a tear or two when the story took a turn for the worse and one of the main characters was left devastated and heartbroken. It was watching them cry knowing they have just lost their soul mate that was sad, not the fact their relationship was doomed from the very beginning. Their short-lived romance isn’t the main point of the movie, it’s more about how certain people come into our lives to help bring out the best in us.
Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort may have played a brother and sister in the Divergent movie but their on-screen chemistry is amazing as a young couple deep in love. Besides playing a couple they both have to deal with their illnesses that hamper their lifestyle every second of every day, aside from Hazel’s oxygen tank one would never realize that both these characters are dying from cancer. They both do a fantastic job of hiding their flaws and weaknesses which is something makes them stronger with each other. Their parents may disapprove of their courtship at the beginning, but once the adults realize the good things that the pair bring out in the each other, they give their blessings for the relationship. It’s that kind of change that makes this a heart warming story, that these two lovers can change the opinions of those around them and get what they both need to be deliriously happy.
The Fault in Our Stars was a great one time watch for me, I’m sorry to say I have no interest in watching or owning this movie but I am going to recommend it. Girls will fall in love with the romance while the guys will just have to settle on Elgort’s funny personality. The story will serve as an inspiration for people both ill and not ill that sometimes certain people come into our lives and leave long-lasting impressions long after they are gone.
my star rating: 8 out 10
imdb.com: 8.5 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 82% out 100%
rogerebert.com: 2 out 4