Devoid of vampires, werewolves, covens, dystopian futures and incestuous demon hunters, The Fault in Our Stars looks to confront that built-in adolescent audience with a wallop of cancerous reality by marrying romance with looming death. It’s heavy stuff, as anyone who has read the book can attest, and to great relief, the film captures the same wit, tenderness and tragedy of John Green’s novel.
Shailene Woodley transitions from joy to despair with total conviction as Hazel, a cancer survivor whose “lungs sucked at being lungs”. Her Divergent co-star Ansel Elgort also nails the eloquent charms and ovaries-melting grin of her one-legged romantic counterpart Gus, creating an infectious chemistry driven by Green’s glistening dialog left largely untouched by the script. With their polarising philosophies that are absorbed into a shared open-mindedness, Hazel and Gus’s romance is not built on their ridiculous good looks, but on their intellect. These nerds even describe sex through Venn diagrams.
Although Hazel states how the “truth” behind this sad story cannot be “sugar-coated”, the film still indulges in cinematic sweetener. You won’t see a Peter Gabriel song listed in the soundtrack, but you will hear M83’s ‘Wait’ in the background while an acoustic guitar politely plucks away the doom from many gloomy moments. Despite such softening, the faithfully recreated third act will cause many tears to fall – a necessary pain, as the movie laments. It’s this blend of the smart, the sweet and the sombre that makes The Fault in Our Stars one of the most valuable young adult films Hollywood has produced in the last decade.
‘The Fault in Our Stars’ Movie Times