The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

The Fault in Our StarsReleased: June 6, 2014. Directed by: Josh Boone. Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff. Runtime: 125 min.

Even if you aren’t the target audience of The Fault in Our Stars, you’ll be able to enjoy it for its stunning realism, which warrants its occasional corniness. Josh Boone directs John Green’s novel with finesse, and stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort to an extraordinary chemistry. The story follows Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley), a girl who has had a form of leukaemia since the age of 13. She’s trying hard to cope with her sickness, even though she has depression. Her mother (Laura Dern) wants her to make new friends, and she thinks a cancer support group will be good for her. There, she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a young man who lost his leg because of cancer, but he survived. He also shares her love for the unconventional. He also wants to put his mark on this world before his time is up.

The film raises themes of cherishing every moment, and making a star-crossed love infinite. One never knows how long they have on this world, but you just have to make the best of it. It raises these ideas beautifully with its main characters. Ansel Elgort is good as Augustus, someone who’s a bit strange at first as he just stares at Hazel for their first encounter. What blossoms from there is a stunning romance. I like a metaphor he uses: Putting a cigarette in his teeth, but he never lights it so death doesn’t have the power to kill him.

It’s sweet how he always wants to make Hazel happy, even when she’s trying her hardest to push him away – because she describes herself as a grenade, and when she sets off she could destroy and hurt everyone in her wake. She doesn’t want to add any casualties to the mix. Her vulnerability as a character is sweet. She likes the simple, unconventional things in life – and it brings some great humour to the film. I really cared about the character, and Woodley’s performance as her makes it even better. She’s hard of breathing, and I felt terror for her in even the most simple of moments like climbing a steep set of stairs. It makes it even more effective.

Hazel has a great adopted philosophy from her favourite novel, and much of the plot revolves around her wanting to know what happens to the main characters’ loved ones after she dies. The authour, portrayed by an effective Willem Dafoe, is someone you’ll sympathize with only maybe for a second. Josh Boone isn’t able to direct the character to anything that stands out. Laura Dern is good as Hazel’s mother, even if she’s sidelined for much of the film, as she is often called to panic whenever Hazel calls her name. Hazel’s Dad (True Blood’s Sam Trammel) is sidelined a lot more. Nat Wolff brings a lot of humour to his role as Isaac, Gus’s best friend. His character’s girlfriend is representative of a person who cannot take the death of a loved one.

Anyway, anyone who’s seen this film or read the novel (which I’ll surely seek out because of John Green’s evidently realistic writing style) will tell you it’s a sad story. You’ve just found the new “I haven’t cried this hard since…” film of the decade thus far. This is The Notebook for a new generation. It’s effectively heartbreaking and it’ll leave quite an impression on its viewers, and it’ll make you now think of Anne Frank’s attic as a romantic area. I loved every minute of this film, and just got swept in its realistic look at life and romance.

Score: 88/100

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June 6-8 Box Office Predictions: ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ to top ‘Edge of Tomorrow’

The Fault in Our StarsEdge of TomorrowThere are two big new releases for the box office this weekend. One is Edge of Tomorrow, a sci-fi action vehicle starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. The other is a romantic drama The Fault in Our Stars, based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by John Green.

I’ll start with Edge of Tomorrow. With last year’s Oblivion, Cruise proved he can be a mild box office draw, expressed through the film’s solid $37 million debut. Personally, I think this premise looks more intriguing, and it looks like it has a fun sense of humour. I also love that electronic music in the background of the trailer. The tune got stuck in my head quickly. I think this film adds some appeal with comedic and dramatic actress Emily Blunt in her first attempt at the science fiction genre. What is more appealing is that this looks like an easier plot to follow than Source Code and even the sometimes baffling Oblivion. I see this making $32.8 million this weekend. The reason I’m not going up to $35 million is because last year’s Elysium showed that science fiction could muster disappointing numbers, as it only had an opening weekend of $29.8 million.

The Fault in Our Stars also looks good. It stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. To me, it looks like A Walk to Remember, hold the extreme cheesiness. Pre-ticket sales for this film suggest that it’s out-pacing The Vow and Safe Haven. Probably because of fans of the novel, and the star power of Woodley. I haven’t read the book, and I’m trying to decide if I want to before I see the film. I’m predicting this as the winner this weekend at $43 million.