FlixChatter Review: The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

AshleyBanner FaultInOurStarsPoster

I read The Fault in Our Stars and absolutely adored it. You can read my full review here! The dialogue was witty, sharp and fun and the characters were well developed. I’m also a huge fan of the television show “Friends.” Each friend lends a different perspective and balances each other out. Without all six friends, the show wouldn’t work. After digesting the novel in one sitting, this is precisely how I felt about each character. So, when I discovered TFIOS was destined for the big screen, I’ll admit I had my reservations. With that said, the film happily exceeded my expectations. 

Forget what you might’ve heard, but this is not a film about cancer. It’s about relationships; more specifically, two teenagers who experience real love for the first time. Cancer just happens to be their particular obstacle. Fun fact, the title is actually borrowed from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar:” 

“Men at some time are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is battling Stage IV thyroid cancer, forcing her to wear a nasal cannula and carry an oxygen tank. Augustus (Gus) Waters (Ansel Elgort) has osteosarcoma (bone cancer) which caused him to lose part of his leg. The two meet in a cancer support group and they bond over ‘An Imperial Affliction,’ which just so happens to be a novel about a woman dealing with cancer.

  FaultInOurStarsShailene

For being so young, their relationship is so mature yet innocent at the same time.  

Both Woodley and Elgort were believable as romantic interests, and, in my opinion, captured the sarcastic and clever nature of their respective characters. More importantly, not only did they portray the fear of living with cancer as teenagers, but also showed they are more than just their cancer. Even with death close on their heels, they demonstrated compassion and wisdom beyond their years. Woodley and Elgort perfected the boldness and insecurities of their characters. 

Woodley and Elgort actually appeared in another blockbuster YA film adaptation as brother and sister in Divergent! Admittedly, Elgort’s role was somewhat forgettable. However, to be fair, he isn’t integral to the plot of the first story; whereas, I was blown away by my introduction to Woodley. I can pleasantly say Elgort’s performance in TFIOS will not be so readily forgotten. He was gentle, sweet, caring, and was surprisingly confident for one so young. 

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There was one character I was particularly looking forward to seeing encapsulated on-screen. Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe) is the author of ‘An Imperial Affliction,’ but abruptly ended his novel in an unorthodox manner. Questions on what happens to the characters have plagued Hazel, and now Gus. Even though his novel was a vast success, Van Houten became a recluse and moved to Amsterdam. Needless to say, Van Houten is a quirky, bitter and cantankerous character, who also happens to be an alcoholic. I purposely avoided watching too many trailers and monitoring casting, as I wanted to be, for the most part, uninformed. So, I won’t spoil the surprise for you. I will say I loved the casting choice, and I think you will too. After seeing the film, I don’t think there was anyone else who could’ve pulled this character off (without being too showy or typecast).  

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Also, I was relieved to see a majority of the novel remained the tone and plot remained intact. There were a few tweaks and edited scenes I would like to have seen fully, but as a whole it really works. Director Josh Boone (Stuck in Love) has created an accurate, beautiful and humorous interpretation of a most beloved novel. I think in large, this is due to the fact author John Green was consulted and marginally involved with the production. Nevertheless, he has given his stamp of approval.

I highly recommend seeing this film; although, be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster. If crying in a dark movie theatre surrounded by strangers doesn’t appeal to you, then maybe save this one for the privacy of your own home. However, if you are bold enough, go see this film! It’ll make you laugh, cry and swoon all at the same time. 

4.5 out of 5 reels


PostByAshley


What do you think of The Fault in Our Stars? 

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33 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

  1. Tom

    Wonderful review Ashley, even though I haven’t read the book it’s positive reviews like these that really are making me get out the door to see it. Love Shailene Woodley myself. She’s fantastic in The Descendants, that was my intro to her.

    1. Thanks, Tom! It was such a wonderful film; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I’ve never seen The Descendants, but have heard it’s a great film. If you do see TFIOS, let me know what you think!

  2. Ted S.

    I’ve never heard of the book and I didn’t know the movie version was coming out until yesterday when it was reported that it’s going to be #1 at the box office! Ha ha, guess I’m not the demographic the movie was aiming for. But nice review Ashley, not sure if it’s something I’ll watch anytime soon.

    1. Thanks, Ted!

      Even though the novel is considered contemporary YA, it doesn’t read like one. John Green writes intelligent characters and an engrossing plot. I think you might be surprised by this one 🙂

  3. Great review Ashley! I’m having a difficult time mustering up the excitement to see this one. That said, with reviews like this I know I’ll be seeing it at some point.

    1. You’re absolutely right. It’s hard to watch teenagers dealing with cancer, but it’s uplifting at the same time. I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed.Let me know what you think!

  4. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ashley:

    Nice review and photos!

    It’s great to see a film stick to its roots and do so well!

    I can remember when ‘Love Story’ was the date night or any other night film to see. Along with ‘The Sterile Cuckoo’ and ‘The Paper Chase’. Though this film seems to have much more meat on its bones.

    1. Thanks!

      I’ve been reviewing a lot of YA film adaptations for Ruth and I’ve noticed directors are trying to follow the novels as closely as possible, while still offering and engaging and entertaining film. I only hope this trend continues, because there’s nothing worse than seeing a novel you love so much widely misconstrued on film.

      1. jackdeth72

        I’ve had a few favorite novels torn asunder when adapted to film. Though, not Young Adult, Tom Wolfe’s ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ is probably front and center. Which is odd, since Phillip Kaufman’s ‘The Right Stuff’ was so spot on!

        You’re probably right in your hope and prediction, Since fan popularity and social media spreading the word would be a great incentive for directors and producers to not fiddle around with a proven product.

        You also have a lot of style in your presentations!

        1. Thank you, I try to keep things interesting!

          It’s always a gamble when you hear a beloved novel is destined for the big screen; however, I’ve been surprised by a few films I enjoyed more than the novel: The Beach, Casino Royale, Jane Eyre, and The Great Gatsby.

    1. Thanks, Dan! Wow, I don’t think I’ve seen much for negative reviews. I’ll hop on over and read your post!

      What did you think of the casting pic for Peter Van Houten?

  5. Very nice review! I read TFIOS in December 2013, and wouldn’t say I was obsessed with the characters/book, but was definitely look forward to the adaptation…and you’re right – it does not disappoint. Woodley, Elgort, and the overall production paid a lot of attention to the movie and their love of the material showed. I hope to see it at least one more time this summer. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Katy!

      I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary YA, but I felt like this novel was completely different than anything I’ve read in this genre. However, I can see why some people might be so so about it.

      Apparently Woodley wrote several letters to John Green saying how much she enjoyed the novel and to the director begging him to give her an audition (he thought she was too old for the part). I guess it worked out!

      1. I did love the book, so I am hoping for a good adaption of this at the very least. The trailers looked pretty loyal, so we will see. They pushed our release date from last Friday to this upcoming one. A whole damn week.

  6. Great review, Ashley! I have been very skeptical about Elgort because Augustus looks very different in my mind, but glad to hear you liked him, I hope I’ll share your feelings!

    1. Thank you!

      Like I said, I had misgivings about him based on his performance in Divergent, but he really nailed this role. And I think it helps they both had believable chemistry.

      I hope you enjoy it, let me know what you think!

  7. Nice review! I haven’t read the book, but I really liked the film. Though, I have read Paper Towns, and I can’t wait to see how that translates to film.

    1. Excellent, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      To be honest, I’ve only read TFIOS from John Green, but I like his writing style and storytelling. I didn’t know they were adapting another one of his novels, but if he’s involved in the production, I’m sure it’ll be a success.

  8. Nice review, Ruth. I wasn’t quite as impressed with the film as a whole as you were, though it does come around at about the halfway point after a really shakey start (for me at least). Still though, the casting for Van Houten was perfect. Dafoe absolutely killed here!

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