The Fault in Our Stars
Director: Josh Boone
Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Based on: John Green’s novel
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Willem Dafoe, Mike Birbiglia
Hazel (Shailene Woodley) is sixteen, and is slowly dying from cancer. Her parents (Laura Dern, Sam Trammell) force her to attend a support group which only turns really interesting for Hazel when her friend Isaac (eye cancer) (Nat Wolff) brings his best friend Augustus (Ansel Elgort) to the group. Augustus lost one of his legs to osteosarcoma. Hazel and Augustus quickly bond over a novel – An Imperial Affliction – and their obsession with that book leads them on wholly unexpected adventures.
The Fault in Our Stars is exactly the sobfest you’d expect it to be and works just as well as the book. It is one of the most faithful adaptations of a book I’ve ever seen on screen.
It’s not that the film didn’t change anything from the book. And admittedly, the book didn’t feature anything too complicated to be incorporated into a film. In any case, the result is that the film perfectly captures the feeling and the characters of the book. That also meant that it took over the book’s weaknesses as well – especially the character of Van Houten (Willem Dafoe) and his second appearance.
But that is more of a minor point anyway. Because mostly the film is with Augustus and Hazel and it handles that beautifully: with the right amount of humor and sadness and kitsch. It really is prime tearjerking material without ever becoming too much – you can go along with it just fine, especially because the two of them are teenagers and melodrama is just a part of teenage life.
Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley are perfectly cast in their respective roles (even if I would really like to see more actual 16-year-olds play 16-year-olds but that is a topic for a whole other post). They both have the necessary sweetness and the chemistry with each other. And Nat Wolff was great, too, even if featured way too little for my taste.
The film is nicely shot and very well paced. It just flies by while it wrings every tear you have from you – in the best of ways. And after you had a good cry, you leave the film strangely reconciled. And that’s beautiful.