Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. I read The Fault in Our Stars more than a year ago — which was actually quite delayed, since I’m a fan of John Green’s novels. I guess it just took me a long time to get around to this one. When I heard a movie was in production, I was quite excited. I always looked forward to that production of Looking for Alaska (written by Chuck and Gossip Girl scribe Josh Schwartz) that ultimately went nowhere. Finally, one of Green’s books on the big screen.
But once I saw the trailer, my mind shifted: This is not my kind of movie. I liked the book, but a romance weepie is not in my wheelhouse.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I saw a scene on TV of Hazel and Augustus’s love scene that made me realize I might actually like this. The months between the trailer and that scene I watched took a long time in other realms of my life, but went by quickly in terms of my anticipation. These last few weeks have oddly felt like forever. And thus, some infinities are bigger than other infinities.
The Fault in Our Stars movie lived up to my expectations. If you loved the novel, you’ll love the movie. If you didn’t like the novel, I recommend that you skip this one. And if you never read it, I can’t say either way. I tried to remove my consciously knowing of these characters while watching the movie, but I could not. The film is so married and faithful to the original source material that it’s sometimes eery. Many times while watching the film, it was exactly as I had pictured in my head as I read the novel so many months ago.
Shailene Woodley is Hazel. Ansel Elgort is Augustus. And their scenes together are perhaps exactly as you were imagining as well. (Alert: Bring tissues to the theater if you’re emotionally inclined. During the screening I went to, the entire theater was sobbing — so much so that it was actually quite humorous. Everyone was crying and then everyone was laughing at everyone crying. I didn’t cry, but that’s because I’m dead inside.) I’m not saying that every little detail is intact; it’s not. What was removed and what was tweaked made total sense. In fact, I think they should have done more of it.
Sometimes the movie is faithful to the novel to a fault. Nothing happened to warrant an eye roll, but the truth is that some dialogue and some scenes really only work in novel form. The moment that stuck out most to me (though not the only moment) was Augustus’s monologue when he professes his love to Hazel. At times, the dialogue could feel forced… or dare I even say clunky.
Thankfully, the film works well elsewhere. Other emotional beats play pitch perfectly. In fact, it’s one of the funniest films this year thus far. I’m surprised they went with a romance drama feel for their trailers. The film produces many laugh-out-loud moments throughout its entire run. You might cry, but some of them will be from fits of laughter!
There’s not much else to say about it. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re a fan of the novel. And if you’re a fan of the novel, you’ll like the movie, which you’re already planning on watching. I apologize for making this infinity between now and Friday when the movie is released just that much longer. Enjoy.
- I think Woodley and Elgort are great in the movie, but Laura Dern is so wonderful and plays her character so effortlessly. The cast really is just so perfect. But MVP for me is Dern.
- I also love love love the on-screen animations for text messages. I get excited about things like this.
- Big ups for yet another film with a female lead. This should be mentioned: I’m glad that a character like Hazel is on the big screen. Though it could be argued she’s somewhat a passive protagonist, she really is quite a multifaceted character. I wish they had added more layers present in the novel that didn’t translate much onto the screen. I mean, they even had a voiceover for goodness’ sakes. They could have done it. In any case, it works out better than that other movie that tries to shoehorn layers. Ahem Maleficent ahem.
- The rating is really on the condition of fan enjoyment, I must say. The cinematic qualities of the film are arguable, but maybe I’m not the man for the job. The movie is delightful and I think it has many cinematic merits, but keep the slant in mind.
- Bring tissues.