Nearly seven years after John Green inconclusively sold the film rights to his novel “Looking for Alaska” to Paramount Pictures, another one of his novels, “The Fault in Our Stars,” has finally come to the big screen. The story is not a cancer story like most people think; it’s simply a love story.
It is about a young girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley, “Divergent”), who is forced to go to a cancer support group to help her cope with her illness. Reluctantly, she goes and meets Isaac (Nat Wolff, “The Naked Brothers Band”) and his friend, Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort, “Divergent”).
Hazel and Augustus soon develop a friendship and a passion for a novel that happens to not have an ending. While Hazel is in the hardest battle yet against her cancer, Augustus pulls a few strings with the “Genies,” an organization that grants wishes to terminally ill young people, and manages to use his wish to plan a trip to Amsterdam, where the book’s author lives.
On the trip, they learn that the author, Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”), is a drunken monster. Although that part was ruined for Hazel and Augustus, the trip itself was not a complete loss. A love finally starts to burn between the two when Augustus tells Hazel news that will change their lives forever.
“The Fault in Our Stars” is tear-jerker. It’s an emotional roller coaster that will shift audience’s emotions from laughter to tears in an instant.
Whether you’ve read the book or not, the story is easy to follow. If you have read the novel, the film is quite similar, with only a few little changes. Nerdfighters, as Green’s fans are known, will love this adaptation.
The acting strengthens the story. The way the actors portray the characters make them seem like real people. Woodley seems to really grasp how a teenager can be excited over a simple book, and Augustus and Isaac’s little jokes truly bring the film to life. Plus, the love story feels genuine, not contrived like in some romantic movies.
I did feel like the film quality was a little off, though. It seemed like the filmmakers were overly focused on the two main characters to the point of blurring out whomever and whatever was in the background. For example, there’s a scene where Isaac is making a mess in Augustus’ basement, and he is out of focus until he speaks, which just looked a bit off to me.
Throughout the film, the parental side of having a sick child is also presented; the story isn’t about a self-centered teenager. Viewers will see a bit of how Hazel’s parents (Laura Dern, “Jurassic Park,” and Sam Trammell, “True Blood”) react to the difficult parts of their daughter’s battle against cancer, which is a unique outlook in the story.
“The Fault in Our Stars” is one of the best film adaptations of a novel that I have seen in some time. I highly recommend this movie to anyone looking to see a heartfelt film.