As my junior year of high school was approaching last September, I was tasked with reading a required book chosen by the students of my school as a part of a summer reading program. The book was called “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. I didn’t expect to connect and get as invested as I did when I read it, but that’s exactly what happened to me. Fast forward to today, just a mere week and a half until my junior year of high school comes to a close, and I fittingly get to help finish off the year with the movie adaptation of John Green’s book. So after two hours of sitting in a dark room with the sound of sniffling girls all around, my little sister included, I emerged out from the film in absolute satisfaction. Not only did director Josh Boone and screenwriters Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter do absolute justice to John Green’s book, but they also managed to make a movie that reminded me why the book was so great in the first place. It’s easy to call this movie a “chick flick” due to the fact that every teenage girl and their mothers are seeing this movie as I speak, but let me tell you this: this movie even got into the hearts of the men who were in the theater when I saw it, including myself.
Hazel Grace Lancaster is 17 years old, kind of depressed, and has been cancer-struck for over four years. She hates going to a Cancer Support Group every week, but it is at this group where Hazel will meet Augustus Waters. He is 18 years old, has a genuine sense of humor, and has been in remission for over a year after having his leg amputated as a result to cancer. These two instantly spark a connection together, and pretty soon fall in love with one another. Even when bad things happen in their lives, they’re still there for one another for emotional support and to show how affectionate they can be to the other.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Shailene Woodley is one of Hollywood’s most talented young starlets. With each movie she’s in, this fact is just further proven, and her performance as Hazel is no exception. Not only is her character sweet and bubbly, but Woodley also manages to show the adult, mature side of this character and make it believable and effectively real, so to speak. Equally as fantastic in this movie is Ansel Elgort as Hazel’s lover Augustus. Elgort not only delivers a touching, funny, and great performance, but he also manages to stay true to the essence of Augustus from the book. Nearly every scene with him and Woodley gave me such a huge smile on my face, and their chemistry together sucked me in from the moment they met. There are plenty of other great performances in the movie, including but not limited to Nat Wolff as Hazel and Augustus’ friend Isaac, Laura Dern as Hazel’s mom, and Willem Dafoe as a literary idol of the two main characters, but Woodley and Elgort own this movie and make their chemistry together feel genuine and real.
Major props are given to director Josh Boone and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber for bringing John Green’s book to the big screen with ease. Neustadter and Weber, best known for writing “(500) Days of Summer” and last year’s “The Spectacular Now,” have taken Green’s book and, while they took out a couple of things that would have been nice to see in the movie, effectively brought it to the big screen without really changing much dialogue or the overall impact that the book has had on so many people thus far. As for Boone, he effectively captures everything about the book pretty dead on, and even adds a couple of cool touches into the movie, including the way text conversations are shown. Boone, Neustadter, and Weber have made the most accurate and dead on adaptation of this book that could be made, and the fact that John Green worked with them to make his vision transition well onto the big screen helps a great deal as well.
This film is to 2014 what “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” was for 2012. Everything about this movie worked for me, and I was emotionally invested in it throughout. The characters are relatable and feel like people that I would personally know, aside from the whole cancer thing. I applaud Josh Boone for directing this movie incredibly well and for giving people young and old the movie adaptation of this book that they wanted. I also applaud Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber for taking John Green’s book and adapting it to the big screen really well, despite cutting out a couple of things that would have been nice to see on the big screen. Every performance in this movie is spot on, and Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort are simply sublime. “The Fault in Our Stars” is funny, emotionally heartbreaking, genuinely sweet, and one of the summer’s highlights thus far.
OVERALL SCORE: 10/10