Tuesday, June 10, 2014

[Review] The Fault in Our Stars

Based on John Green's popular YA novel (which I haven't read), The Fault in Our Stars revolves around two people finding love during tragic circumstances and deteriorating time. While the film is inherently sad, it doesn't quite deserve to be labeled a tragedy either, because it strives to be a bittersweet affirmation of life, and a positive observance that these two individuals came to know each other in the first place. Fitting somewhere on the spectrum between The Bucket List and 50/50, its approach to pain and death goes beyond simple inspirational posters. 

Hazel (Shailene Woodley) is terminally ill with thyroid and lung cancer. Being diagnosed at young age, her day-to-day struggles are established early on, making it clear that she's living a completely different life than the average 16-year-old. At a support group she meets Augustus (Ansel Elgort), who recently had his leg amputated due to cancer, and he's now in remission.

After trading their favorite novels, they both are fascinated by a book called "An Imperial Affliction", which apparently has an abrupt and ambiguous ending. They want the answers badly. This involves a "Make A Wish" trip to Amsterdam in order to meet the reclusive author. It's a vacation that proves to be both wonderful and disappointing.

I haven't seen Divergent, but I've yet to witness a Shailene Woodley performance that wasn't less than stellar (see: The Descendants and The Spectacular Now). Ansel Elgort solidly coasts for a while, almost seeming like a more enthusiastic extension of his character in the recent Carrie remake. However, once he's able to shed the prince charming caricature, he demonstrates some serious abilities.

Despite a couple of questionable scenes, The Fault in Our Stars is mostly successful, and it's a great exploration of romance that isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Adapted for the screen by the same writers of (500) Days of Summer and The Spectacular Now, there are nice amounts of humor and honesty, as well as heartbreaking turning points and genuinely moving moments. The film earns its glossy direction, and M83's "Wait" is a nice touch too.


No comments:

Post a Comment