Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by Josh Boone
Okay? Okay.
Thank your first and foremost, Tumblr, for going all fangirl on The Fault in Our Stars and Looking For Alaska. If it wasn't for your constant bombardment of quotes and religious adoration for sexy middle-aged father figure John Green, Green's beautiful books might have never appeared on my radar.

Oh, and please do yourself a favor by checking out John Green's Tumblr, his Nerdfighters website, and his vlogbrothers YouTube channel. I'm afraid we can no longer be friends if you can't find something you like there.

Flash forward to yesterday.

My girlfriend Sarah turned a quarter-century old this week (she hates it when I phrase it like that, but then again, she is ancient now and thus prone to hating things), so we decided to go on a little movie date. Our expectations were particulary high because A) Mr. John Green himself had been closely involved with the #TFiOS movie, which meant the book's delicacy and intimacy would remain intact, B) Divergent stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort are awesome young actors, and C) the movie had not missed its mark, upsetting the whole twittersphere.

Hazel Grace Lancaster (vaginal sunbather Woodley) is a 16-year old girl with terminal thyroid cancer in her lungs. She's brave, smart and funny, and won't allow her disease to define her. At the insistance of her doctor, Hazel attends a cancer support group, where she meets the handsome and somewhat cocky Augustus Waters (Elgort). After the meeting, he invites Hazel to hang out at his house, where the two swap stories and agree to read each other's favorite novels. Hazel's favorite book is An Imperial Afflication (Unfortunately, not a real book. I'm sorry.) by reclusive writer Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe). The book's maddening mid-sentence ending prompts Augustus to track down Van Houten.

Sure, The Fault in Our Stars is a movie about cancer. But it is neither cliche (save for the indie rock score) or a shameless pity party. Above all, #TFiOS is a faithful rendition of Green's emotionally intense 2012 bestseller, with the clever dialogues and tender moments from the book remaining intact. Young stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, whose natural chemistry is a real boon to Josh Boone's sophomore effort as a director, are perfectly cast as star-crossed lovers. Woodley, for the matter, is particularly impressive, striking a perfect balance between being brave and being vulnerable for her performance. The Fault in Our Stars is, by a landslide, the smartest and most honest tear-jerker in a long time.

Go watch this movie, okay?


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