'The Fault In Our Stars' Movie Review: Shailene Woodley Brings Hazel Grace to Life, Best Moments Faithful to John Green's Book [SPOILERS]
By Arlene Paredes | June 6, 2014 3:16 AM EST
"The Fault In Our Stars" (TFIOS) premiered in theatres June 5 (June 6 in U.S. cinemas). The movie adaptation of John Green's young adult fiction opened floodgates of tears in a cathartic experience for many viewers. Shailene Woodley is compelling as Hazel Grace Lancaster, and Ansel Elgort is more than okay as Augustus Waters.
Actress Shailene Woodley arrives for a 20th Century Fox presentation of "The Fault in Our Stars" during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada March 27, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Spoiler alert: This review of "The Fault In Our Stars" contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Hazel Grace and Gus are cancer-stricken teenagers who meet in a support group meeting in "the literal heart of Jesus." She is 16, he is 19. They get into a staring contest, they talk about "An Imperial Affliction," and they fall in-love. Their "okay" means "always." "The Fault In Our Stars" is the "Love Story" (Erich Segal) for the young and romantic in this generation.
"The Fault In Our Stars" is better read than watched. Still, the movie is a must-see. In Green's novel, Gus' parents try to stop him from going to Amsterdam. Hazel Grace uses Facebook to learn about Gus' ex-girlfriend. Hazel meets the rest of Gus' family. Gus' dad thanks Hazel in a sentimental moment.
John Green's narrative is so rich and captivating that it pains the ardent readers to see some book parts skipped. Director Josh Boone, however, does not disappoint in making the most special moments count. In addition, Shailene Woodley's brilliant acting makes "The Fault In Our Stars" movie worth the moviegoers' money.
Viewers should keep an eye out for J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" in "The Fault In Our Stars." (Hint: Take a really good look around Hazel's room.)
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who wrote the screenplay of "The Fault In Our Stars," tried to stay as faithful as possible to John Green's prose. However, the line "'I lit up like a Christmas tree, Hazel Grace" is ten times more powerful in imagery than "[the scan] lit up." That is one of the lines that should have not been changed.
Then again, perhaps it is not the line as it was written. Ansel Elgort's delivery of this shattering revelation is a bit dry, if not overdone. Elgort's boyish smile and the disarming hint of mischief in his eyes make him a believable Augustus Waters, just not in a superb manner.
Here are some of the best moments in "The Fault In Our Stars" movie. These scenes are faithful to the book, as far as essence is concerned. One, the adorable staring contest in the beginning. Two, some Amsterdam moments, including the scenes with Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe).
Three, the Isaac moments. "The Fault In Our Stars" movie has both the basement rampage and car egging with Isaac (Nat Wolff). Four, the pre-funeral scenes (at which point the muffled sobs in cinemas might sound louder). Five, the ending (because Shailene Woodley's enlightened smile makes for such a strong closure).
'Fault' scenes with Laura Dern and Sam Trammell, who play Hazel's parents Frannie and Michael, could be better. Still, in the little time she is on screen, Dern's loving mother vibe shines through.
WATCH: 'The Fault in Our Stars' Movie Trailer (20 million TFIOS YouTube views)
"The Fault In Our Stars," commonly called TFIOS, currently has a rating of 8.6 on imdb.com. On rottentomatoes.com, the movie has so far drawn an approval rating of 81% from critics and 96% from the audience. John Green, Josh Boone, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort are expected to make more fans sob this weekend.
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