Friday, June 27, 2014

Movie Review: The Fault in Our Stars





Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe
Director: Josh Boone
Studio: Temple Hill Entertainment

I am always wary when seeing a film based off one of my favorite novels. There is so much that could go wrong. But I was so excited, I coughed up the R122 (including popcorn and coke) and treated myself to a movie night. I also went by myself, as I knew there would be tears involved.

Before I break this down into the Good, Bad and Ugly, a warning. I will be cross-referring the movie and the book so a BIG SPOILER ALERT if you haven't read or seen either.

The Good
  • The dialogue was faithful to the characters, a lot taken verbatim from the novel. I loved this touch, as it was really like the book had come to life.
  • Shailene Woodley clearly got the character of Hazel and captured her well for the most part. I saw no traces of Tris, another popular YA character from the book and film Divergent. She was suitably emotional and angry and sad. I loved her as Hazel.
  • Willem Dafoe was brilliant as van Houten. I couldn't believe that it was him at first, as he looked so different to his usual self. His dry delivery of lines and his whole demeanor was spot on.
  • Laura Dern as Hazel's mom. I remember her from Jurassic Park and am sad she hasn't done a lot of mainstream stuff since. She really did a great job capturing all the emotions and conveying them with a special maternal warmth. Loved her.
  • The little speech bubbles and the scene overlays to illustrate tests and e-mails.
The Bad
  • Ansel Elgort was not how I pictured Gus. And I know it has been said before, but he was Shailene Woodley's brother in Divergent. Perhaps if this had been released first, I would have been comfortable seeing them in different roles.He did get Gus's bouncy personality, but his delivery of lives sometimes came across as overly saccharine. Maybe he was also simply outshone by Shailene.
  • The soundtrack just didn't work for me. I expected sweeping, emotional songs and score and it was, frankly unmemorable. I did not walk out of the cinema feeling like I wanted to buy the soundtrack NOW.
  • Where was Hazel's scar from her surgery? and surely during the sexy scene, she would have had more scarring because of the drains and other procedures?
  • I wanted more of Isaac. I also wanted more of the Price of Dawn banter and Hazel's reaction to that.
  • I also wanted Hazel to meet with her friend at the mall, as that shows a glimpse of Hazel pre-cancer and how it affected her relationships with people. There was a lot left out in that sense that I felt could have bettered the characters on screen. Like why no mention of Gus' ex?
The Ugly
  • Honestly, there was nothing screamingly bad that stood out. So, yay TFIOS Movie Edition!
I loved this. Criticism aside, they did the best job possible with the film in keeping it faithful to the characters.

Folks who have not read the book can comfortably see the film. Even more so after my spoilertastic review! Yay! One of my colleagues, a tough guy in his fifties, was raving about it. So it does have a universal appeal.

As a side note, I know I am older than the target audience for this role when I found myself admiring Hazel's dad over Gus.






This is Sam Tramell, better known for his role in True Blood as Sam Merlotte. *clears throat* Okay.



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