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The Battalion

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The Battalion

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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Elgort+and+Woodley+play+the+films+star-crossed+lovers.
Elgort and Woodley play the film’s star-crossed lovers.

The New York Times best seller, “The Fault in Our Stars,” written by John Green, was released Friday in a big screen adaptation directed by Josh Boone. Following the film’s announcement in 2013, it has steadily accumulated followers by way of Twitter’s #TFIOS and adding great anticipation for its release.
If you read the book, you’d understand why. If you haven’t, you’ll just have to wait.
This is a movie about star-crossed lovers, but it is also a movie about the human condition — the need to understand and the need to be understood.
The film opens with a brief foreshadowing and narration of protagonist Hazel Grace Lancaster, played by Shailene Woodley, a 17-year-old girl who has been living with cancer since her diagnosis at 13. Throughout the film, Woodley dons plastic nubs in her nose and is attached to an oxygen tank that trails behind her in a rolling backpack, to help her breathe properly.
The entire film keeps the novel’s indie charm and is full of cancer puns and witty humor. Hazel is sent to a support group, after being deemed depressed by her mother. Facilitated by the over-compensating group leader Patrick, the group is held around a massive religious rug. Cancer patients can reflect and support one another while “literally standing in the heart of Jesus.”
In interviews, Green has mentioned how thrilled he is that the movie follows so close to the book. For the first half of the film, the script does just that, however it almost detracts from the fluidness of the film ironically. It’s hard for the plot line to gain momentum and the language doesn’t seem as natural when actually spoken aloud.
At the support group, Hazel meets and later falls in love with Augustus Waters, played by Ansel Elgort, a confident 18-year-old with his own battles — an amputated leg to prevent spreading of his cancer. He, unlike Hazel however has been NEC (no evidence of cancer) for quite some time.
Elgort has this boyish and smart aleck charm. He carries an unlit cigarette between his teeth, his metaphor to not give power to the thing that could kill him.
And he is unassumingly sexy with the way he absorbs the film’s scenes. Despite his bravado, Elgort does a fantastic job of conveying his vulnerability.
The film includes multiple angles looking at societal views of cancer — one being the way cancer can overtake a person’s life, not just their physical body. Augustus wants to know Hazel’s story, and not just her cancer story, her personal story.
This isn’t necessarily a movie about two kids with cancer, but about establishing that life can be rich in the middle of physical turmoil.
Laura Dern, who plays a smaller but notable role, is consumed by her daughter’s medical life and finds it difficult to walk outside her role as mother and caretaker to Hazel. She can’t vocalize her daughter’s immanent death, for fear of not being positive.
The acting lays heavily on the two main character’s compatibility and their ability to play characters that transition from an amicable to romantic relationship. Already blowing up Twitter and Tumbler, some of the films best lines — the word “Okay,” and “I fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly, then all at once,” are sure to gain even more of cultural phenomena status.
Woodley was not the most obvious choice for a cast member, but she has come a long way from “The Secret Life of An American Teenager.” Her acting is raw and her character isn’t unnecessarily dramatic.
Some of her best scenes are subtle, like when she is waiting to receive a text message from Augustus after they meet.
Capturing the anticipation of a new crush, she carries her phone constantly, even while brushing her teeth, watching TV and sitting at the dinner table, like most teenagers do.
There is a reason why John Green has recently been dubbed a “teen whisperer.” He gets teens and portrays them in their most authentic state. He gets teen angst and the longing to be someone, without all of the clichés.
Woodley is dynamic. The entire movie Hazel is overcome by the need to not hurt others with her illness. The second half of the film, Hazel and Augustus travel to Amsterdam to meet the grief-stricken alcoholic author who wrote Hazel’s favorite book. Hazel envisions that the author can shed light on life about life, however her encounter only leads to her to an anger and disappointment, which is likely to resonate with cancer patients.
Green and Boone collaborated to make a film that essentially wrote itself. The characters will remind people that the world does not stop when illness strikes, and that sometimes in order to share a love with someone, “pain demands to be felt.”

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