The Fault in Our Stars
Note: I am a book person. This is a movie review for book people and analyzes the movie as an adaptation. For a movie person's analysis of it as an independent work, go to someone else's blog. You can read my review of the book here.
If you haven't read or seen it, Hazel and Augustus meet in a teen cancer patient support group. What could go wrong?
Naturally, there are a few powerful parts of the book that didn't quite make it. The backstory involving Augustus trying to love his dead first girlfriend in spite of her brain tumor is cut, along with much of Hazel's frustration with the empty sympathies of distant acquaintances after death. The condensing of some of Hazel's thoughts into voiceover form renders them a bit more generic, and the dying characters look as Hollywood eye-candy healthy as you'd expect.
The perfect blend of humor and tragedy in the book make the leap to the screen intact, maybe even improved and distilled. Every moment I was afraid would be cut for being extraneous to the plot but essential to the tone made it into the movie, including the beautiful, sad, funny weirdness that is two dying kids helping their blind friend throw eggs at his ex's car. That scene was all it should have been.
The leads are excellent, both carrying every bit of the charm, intelligence, strength and vulnerability so necessary to both Hazel and Augustus. Their love story remains human and irresistible in spite of all fair warning that it cannot end well. The themes from the trimmed elements, the less romantic and dignified side of terminal illness and the artificiality of the way illness and death are often discussed, are integrated as well as possible into Hazel and Augustus's main storyline, between the G-tube scene and the funeral, both well handled.
In short, you will laugh, you will cry, you will hug your loved ones. It is a privilege to have your heart broken by this story, in book or movie form.
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