Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Fault In Our Stars

WRITTEN BY: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
DIRECTED BY: Josh Boone
STARRING: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Willem Defoe
RATING: 3.5 stars

As book lovers so often lament, the film is never quite as good as the original literature. The Fault In Our Stars is no different, but the film is still an emotional roller coaster that manages to delicately tackle some important issues related to childhood illness and first love. It reminded me of A Walk To Remember, which was based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, but I thought that film was better. Nonetheless, with an impressive and convincing cast, The Fault In Our Stars is at the very least sure to make your eyes water, while some may even weep more than once.

Based on John Green's novel, The Fault In Our Stars centres on teenagers Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort) who meet at a cancer support group. They are immediately drawn to each other and share their deepest thoughts. They soon fall in love despite Hazel having to lug around an oxygen tank and Gus having a prosthetic leg. While Gus is in remission, there is the possibility that Hazel's lungs could give out at any time and she could die. Hazel introduces Gus to her favourite novel about a girl with cancer but the book ends abruptly, leaving Gus wondering what happens next. The author Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe)  is a recluse but the pair still try to track him down in Amsterdam to find out what happens to the characters after the novel concludes. 

Woodley and Elgort have fantastic chemistry, which is vital to the success of the film. Both give endearing performances and audiences certainly feel for their plight. Nat Wolff plays their friend who must lose his sight to survive cancer. He is an important supporting character and Wolff gives a strong performance, providing some much needed laughs throughout the film. Dafoe is also very good as the quirky and controversial author. Laura Dern plays Hazel's loving mother and has some tough scenes to perform. Unfortunately Sam Trammell is not given enough to work with as Hazel's father. 

The Fault In Our Stars is slow in parts and a little too long, but the film is ultimately a bittersweet tale that teenage audiences in particular will enjoy. 



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