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The Fault In Our Stars
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231 of 244 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2014
Format: Blu-ray
There’s a critic’s quote on the back of my copy of “The Fault in Our Stars,” by John Green, which I really felt captured the book’s essence and how it felt to read it. “This is a book that will break your heart – not by wearing it down, but by making it bigger and bigger until it bursts.” This is true. But, don’t be mistaken. This is an emotionally exhausting story. All a movie of a beloved book can hope to accomplish is to do justice to the book’s essence, and to give the viewer the same feeling they had when reading it as a novel. “The Fault in Our Stars” does this, and then some.

“Stars” follows Hazel (Shailene Woodley), who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of thirteen. A clinical trial gave her a few good years, but she has never been really anything but terminal. Her behavior leads her parents (Laura Dern and Sam Trammel) to believe she’s depressed, and force her to attend an insufferable cancer support group, where she meets who turns out to be the love of her life, Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort).

So first, I’ll calm the book readers down a bit. Woodley, who proved in 2011’s “The Descendants,” that she is a dynamic actress, and could helm YA-novel adaptations without being compared to Kristen Stewart, makes for a dynamic Hazel, giving a sublime and beautiful performance that could (and should) earn her some Academy attention this winter. Elgort is brooding, romantic and infectiously charismatic – a pitch perfect Augustus. And best yet, these two young actors have a chemistry that is electric, and should hit non-fans just as hard as it does those familiar with the source material.

Amy Jellicoe, I mean, Laura Dern is lovely as Hazel’s martyr mother. Dern played Amy Jellicoe in one of my favorite television series of all time, HBO’s cancelled-too-soon “Enlightened,” and she plays exactly the character from the book, and doesn’t change much. Sam Trammel (HBO’s “True Blood”) does nice work too. In the novel, Hazel’s father broke out crying almost every time she was in his presence, which Trammel doesn’t do. I guess that’s a good thing.

When the end-of-second-act plot twist hits, you will likely be in tears the entire third act of the movie, like I was. The book’s tone reminded me of Showtime’s series “The Big C.” It’s about a morbid subject – cancer, but treats its subject with lightness and finds a way to convey the humor in a terrible situation. “The Fault in Our Stars” is like the book in that way – it is at times grim and morbid in its detail about disease. But the characters manage to crack jokes about their awful predicament, which makes the third-act punch hurt a little less.

The film only makes a few slight changes in story from the book. Hazel’s friend Kaitlyn is written out completely, which actually works. Hazel is better portrayed as someone who was lonely and friendless until the great love of her life came around. Kaitlyn was an afterthought in the book anyway. The backstory of Augustus’s previous girlfriend Caroline is also written out, which is not such a good choice. But a book fan is always going to find things to nitpick.

In the end, Josh Boone made a superb adaptation of a beloved novel, which captured what it felt like to read the book. Not only that, but it captures the unmistakable feeling of being in love for the first time. The film itself is heartbreaking (you will cry…no way around it,) hopeful, wise, and acerbic in its wit. It will remind you not to live every day like it’s your last – but to just live.

Grade: A
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107 of 125 people found the following review helpful
Format: Amazon Instant Video
There has been a lot of hype around both the book and this movie. Enough hype to convince me to finally read the book and then go see the movie on opening day.

I thought The Fault in Our Stars was cast perfectly. I had seen a movie poster prior to reading the book so that could have significantly influenced me. The movie stayed fairly true to the book. Of course things had to be cut and changed to make this movie work but overall I think the adaptations they made worked well.

While reading I pictured the characters much sicker than they appeared on the screen, however, I understand that no one really wants to watch a 2 hour movie with sickly looking dying people. There aren’t many movies that I watch more than once but I would like to see this one again.

Content: There is some moderate language sprinkled throughout and one use of the F word. If you have read the book you know there is a sex scene. The scene cuts after Hazel removes her bra (seen only from the back) and picks back up with them sleeping entwined in each others arms. I am going to take my 14 year old to see this. Once again there is a little more content than I am comfortable with her seeing. (I wish the sex scene had cut a little earlier and that there was a little less language). However it is a movie she really wants to see and I’m going to let her see it.

My recommendation – If you are going to see it read the book first. They did a great job adapting this from a book to a movie but there is much that had to be left out and as is usually the case the book is better than the movie.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort deserve Oscars for this movie. The story is beautifully written, and the movie is beautifully acted and directed. The movie follows the book well and John Green's, humor, charm and wit shine through in both the book and the movie. It is a love story that has true depth, heart and soul. It's not cliche like most romantic movies. It will make you laugh and cry sometimes at the same time. It's truly one of a kind, hope to see it win lots of awards this year. Bring your Kleenex when you see it.
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90 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2014
Format: DVD
There are two stories that have captured the essence of life and death as a millennial today. One is a great spiritual fiction Now and at the Hour of Our Death. The other will make you want to hate tweet John Green for writing such an emotionally tormenting story

First off you will probably cry at this film more than you ever have at a movie. You will probably ugly cry. Just warning you! The film of The Fault in Our Stars is a great adaption of a beautiful and wonderfully-written novel. It's sort of perfect.

I think they picked the perfect actors to play the roles so many have come to appreciate through the book and the film follows along the story well, being true to Green's excellente novel. When it's brought to life, there's actually more emotion and feeling than I felt with the book, which is saying alot. I love when Agustus Waters compliments Hazel Grace with her canula draped under her nose and over her ears. I couldn't stop bawling and my heart kinda flutters now every time I hear someone say "okay".

The acting is good and maintains the believability of the characters and the story, which is important because while these are everyday teens living in an everyday town, their fight with a horrible disease and the unusual things it makes people do is tough to pull off if you're not a good actor. Shailene and Ansel certainly are.

There are two stories out there that capture the essence of life. They've made an amazing film out of this one.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This movie is extremely well-acted. I agree that Shailene Woodley's in the running for an Oscar. It's well-done from a technical standpoint as well.

It's just not that enjoyable to watch. The screenplay's often immature or too cliché for a film trying to be more artsy and unconventional. Note that I haven't read the book on which the movie's based and so can't speak to whether that's the fault of the original author or the film's direction.

Some scenes were so unrealistic as to be laughable, such as the applause in the Anne Frank house, which really took away from the emotional atmosphere the film was trying to convey. Other elements, like how the male lead carries an unlit cigarette in his mouth as some kind of a statement, just seemed juvenile. (I remember thinking, "Wow, that's so what I would have done in high school to try to look cool." What's compelling about Gus is that he's genuine and secure in himself and doesn't "try to look".)

What was most lacking was the story arc. There's little internal conflict. There are several interesting conflicts that are touched upon briefly but then left without any depth -- how Hazel's health affects her parents, Isaac's relationship with his girlfriend, Hazel not wanting to hurt Gus, Hazel having to be hospitalized briefly. In general the storyline is just following a sequence of events. There's no tension, aside from the possibility of Hazel dying which the viewer can be fairly confident won't happen since it would end the film. (Of course, if this was happening in reality a relatively tension-free life would be a wonderful thing, but it doesn't make for a very interesting movie.)

(Spoilers) Even when Gus's health goes downhill his death just seems inevitable, and while all the characters are sad it doesn't generate internal conflict. I think the most compelling scenes in the whole movie were Gus at the gas station, and William Dafoe's character's last appearance, both of which were pretty brief.

Maybe the director and writers were trying to balance making compelling movie and staying true to the book's storyline, when they could really successfully only do one or the other. I don't know since, again, I haven't read the book.

I find no fault in the stars (the actors). The film's premise is interesting, it's a beautiful film to look at, and it does make for a good tear-jerker-chick-flick-first-date kind of experience. But so do 'A Walk to Remember' and 'The Notebook', which provide a much more complete and dynamic story arc than this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2015
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This movie is absolutely realistic. My daughter has been fighting cancer for the past three years and this really hit home. I felt empathy and understanding throughout the entire movie. During my daughters fight with cancer we have witnessed young love between cancer patients and it truly is tragic and beautiful.
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I really love this book and the movie is perfect too. The film is very faithful to the book, has the key phrases and scenes, is great.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Is it a schmaltzy movie, yes, is it a tearjerker, yes, did I love it anyway....big yes! @ big thumbs up to Shailene Woodley and to Ansel Elgort, very attractive couple and very believable as a couple. Yes, they each have cancer but you feel the life and hope they are portraying and especially from him in the first 3/4 of the movie. Sappy and sad, absolutely, but if you are watching this or thinking of watching it....that is what you are looking for and you will get it. Love, love and love. The leads and the support cast ....winners all. If you don't at least mist up....you are a cold lump of rock.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
..or thats what I did anyway. But if you are wondering .. there are a zillion other romantic movies built along the same lines (P.S. I love you, Autumn in NewYork..etc etc ...) you are most definitey right. But this movie (book) does so much more... there is so much of drama and the brutality of truth that you almost forget about the romance. Not that it has got any surprises. I pretty much figured out what was going to happen within the first 30 mins or so but still kept on watching...

The book has terrific oneliners and full of funny and sarcastic throws that adds a zing in the mix. But speakin for myself I completely fell in love with the math. Hazel, I am guessing is the bigger infinity and Gus (her lover) was the slightly smaller infinity, and between them they had this tiny little infinity which just went on forever. Its not hard to feel pity for Peter Van Hauten, but if I was intelligent I woud say he was Cancer himself. But I am happy feeling angry at him.

The movie however .. although it followed the book as close as possible (really close) got a whole new character .. thanks a lot to Shailene Woodley. She is impeccable. But the drama was so dramatic ... one scene .. I would humbly say reminded me of the you-tubed version of Charlie Chaplins Great Dictator speech .. the one with the Inception soundtrack etc..it felt that good. The movie literally comes out of the screen and grabs you by the collar and says ..Celebrate life you idiots.

I felt the movie(not the book) was incomplete. What happens to Hazel? I see a funeral...everyone leaves .. save for Peter Van Houten .. drunk .. sad .. raising his flask....(aaahh dont we like a good tragedy )

I also see life.. a full remission ... the American girl with the Dutch Tulip Man (a really old and really sober Tulip man ) ..and maybe Sissyphus too :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Very well acted. Too true to life for some. One of the better moves of 2014. Movies don't have to cost 100 million to be excellent.
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