Writer John Green creates a heart-warming narrative in his New York Times best selling novel, The Fault in our stars.
The novel takes us through Hazel Grace’s journey from her condition through to the state of her current ‘ordinary’ life. Hazel is a simple girl with weak lungs. As much as she hates having cancer, she does her best to continue everyday life with a smile on her face. Being forced to support group, Hazel bumps into a cute guy, Augustus Waters whom seems very curious in her. They exchange smiles and its truly love at first sight. The narrative continues with Hazel becoming close to Gus, as they set off on a journey to meet the writer of her favourite book, An Imperial Infliction. Travelling to Amsterdam, Hazel and Gus have a beautiful time yet their acquaintance with Author, Peter Van Houton doesn’t end very positive.
Green tells us an inspiring story filled with sparks of romance complimented with a rollercoaster of emotions. The book itself is so real, where Green doesn’t hide any facts about having Cancer. He genuinely speaks to us through Hazel’s character whom clearly has been suffering for a long time. Green avoids making the issue of cancer seem durable; he lends us a direct view of how it affects Hazel and Gus’ life, where it can truly be painful and rough. I like the fact that Green makes Hazel a very realistic character. Although she has cancer, she’s just a normal person like any of us. For example, implementing realistic moments like watching daily reality TV shows or spending time reading or on the laptop like any other teen.
The narrative flows smoothly where fine detail is considered and we don’t feel hidden from the truth. There are moments where we truly smile and moments where we can’t help but cry. Green verbally allows us to visually paint a picture of the characters and the scenes. His description is vivid and has the right pace to it. Authentically, Hazel’s life is unraveled to us, where we feel glued to the book, eager to see Gus and Hazel get together. The dialogue is exceptional, where mostly everything the characters say is quotable.
After reading the book I was eager to see the film, where I can honestly say it did justice to the novel. Director Josh Boone brings the narrative to life where he tries to squeeze in as much of the book as possible. Although there are a few scenes removed from the film, they aren’t as crucially important and thus I appreciate their decision in this.
The narrative is genuinely brought to life by the brilliant cast, especially the main protagonists Shailene Woodley (Hazel Grace) and Ansel Elgort (Augustus Waters). Woodley, the star of the film, performs to the best of her ability as Hazel. She transforms into this sweet, simple girl whom you feel you could be friends with. Her soft voice and how she tackles cancer is applaudable. Shaileene literally places herself in Hazel’s shoes, where every body gesture is performed incredibly. The out-of-breath moments to the times where she vigorously climbs the stairs, it’s all very sharp and profoundly performed. We’re able to clearly see her plight and struggle, where we truly see her courage shine and realise how hard it must be.
Likewise, as well as Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort is perfect for Augustus Waters. The way he responds so naturally to Hazel is calming. His on screen presence makes you feel slightly safer and warmer. Elgort’s timing and again his body gestures are done perfectly. From the cigarette in his mouth to his cute smile, Elgort mirrors Gus’ character. Though, with having a prosthetic leg, Ansel was slightly off with pulling this off, yet his efforts were noticeable.
Just like the book, the film is very realistic and authentic, where Boone avoids the conventional romance and takes us through more of a realistic approach. Gus and Hazel are adorable together, where their chemistry on screen was powerful. Even though they played fiction characters, their approach to the dialogue was insanely wonderful, where they truly felt like a couple. Josh Boone managed to avoid the stereotypical teenage romance slops, where this felt like a genuine tale of two people who fall in love.
Usually I’m not a soppy romantic, but this film has a way to lure you in, making you all warm and fuzzy. Usually I also don’t cry during films, unless they are really, really emotional. BUT, The Fault in our Stars made me very emotional and admittingly there were a few tears (I was surprised at this fact). To be honest, hands-down to the main protagonists, Woodley and Elgort, as they truly performed in the tensed scenes manifesting an emotional mood, giving me goosebumps The unforgettable and emotional scenes had to be when Gus says ‘I lit up like a Christmas tree’, when Hazel is reading her eulogy to Gus and the scene towards to end where Hazel is crying, a lot. These scenes were very powerful and made you realise how lucky you are to have a life.
The cast of The Fault in our Stars fitted very much to the novel’s characters. This of course made the film more believable, where each character was pushed to perform it’s best. Isaac as Nat Wolff had this cool, best friend persona who you could have fun with. His anger and frustration to his girlfriend, Monica was perceived through his aggressive actions. Isaac was always there as a friend and made the mood lighter. Hazel’s parents, Frannie (Laura Dern) and Michael (Sam Trammwell) were very supportive and helped Hazel have the best in life. They never said no and their love towards their daughter was endless. Author, Peter Van Houten as William Dafoe was brilliant. His cold persona and the grain in his voice brought the character to life. His dialogue was spoken in the tone of frustration, where he brought that scene to life, where we truly despised his character.
Overall, both the novel and film were astounding. The cast definitely brought the narrative and characters to life, making the tale seem so real. The cinematography reflected the characters; it was very simple and visually pleasing. From close up shots of the main protagonists, we were able to literally see the bold emotion across their face. The dialogue wasn’t forced and was simply inspiring. Emotion was perpetuated through the sensitive scenes anchored with a powerful score. The Fault in our Stars is definitely a must watch for all.
My Rating (Book and Film): 9/10
Written by: Meera Darji