On June 6th, The Fault in Our Stars was released in theaters with Shailene Woodley playing Hazel Grace Lancaster and Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters. Initially, I had planned to review this movie as I had others in the past, but this deserved a special post due to the fact that I am such a huge fan and have far too much original bias.
Let me forewarn you: This is a book to movie review, so if you have not read the book and plan to do so, you may want to stop reading now. Also, I included very large spoilers in this review. You have been warned.
The story is based off of the novel by the spectacular John Green, as if you didn’t already know. Let’s be real: this book is freaking huge. When I read it upon its release in 2012, I knew it was something special. I was already a huge Green fan due to the immense love I have for his first novel Looking for Alaska. It is safe to say, when I heard that there was going to be a TFiOS movie, I panicked.
My panic slowly subsided as production and filming began. Josh Boone was coined the director and I felt sheer bliss. Boone wrote and directed Stuck in Love which is on my mental All Time Favorite Movies list. Next, the casting began and I was panicked once again. The acting from Shailene Woodley in Descendants was phenomenal, I admit, but something in the back of my brain could not stop putting her in that Secret Life of the American Teenager box. Dear Shailene Woodley, I was fucking wrong.
The movie started out just as the book had: a quick glimpse into Hazel’s boring, cancer-filled, ANTM watching life. With one-liners like “I’m the Keith Richards of cancer kids” spilling out, I was sold. Shailene Woodley was Hazel Grace. The movie added a sense of innocence that made me feel alive. In the first ten minutes, I had teary eyes simply due to the fact that the characters I held so closely were coming to life.
While I was in a state of joy watching the film, I couldn’t help but pick apart at the missing details. I don’t want to linger on those, though, because the movie was, overall, a beautiful adaptation of one of my favorite books. The Amsterdam scenes were flawless and the meeting with Van Houten was practically word for word. The Anne Frank House kiss was everything I had dreamed it would be.
By far, two of my favorite scenes in the movie that I felt not only did the book justice, but in some ways topped the novel was the sex scene in Amsterdam and the egging of Monica’s car. The egging scene in the book was, while hilarious, fairly rushed and didn’t give me the feeling of being alive like the movie egging scene did. Augustus’ statement about “four eyes, five legs, and two sets of working lungs” felt so Augustian that I felt the joy and love for the character that I did upon my first read of the book. The sex scene felt so intimate and real. As far as movie sex scenes go, this one was one of the most honest and splendidly awkward I had ever experienced.
Laura Dern, who played Hazel’s mother, was simply impeccable. I cannot relay how much I enjoyed the character of Hazel’s mother and how well Laura Dern portrayed her. Another standout character, and personal favorite actor of mine, was Nat Wolff who brought Isaac to life. Isaac’s wit fell from Wolff’s mouth as if the character was made for him.
As this is a book to movie review, I have to mention the facets of the novel that I felt needed to be included in the movie in some way. First, let me preface this by saying that I understand a movie can only be so long and that things must be omitted. I fully understand and acknowledge this. That being said, why didn’t they sell the swing set?! I was waiting for the “vaguely pedophilic” line and the way Augustus cheered Hazel up by proposing such an outlandish act. It was such a monumental scene that I was disappointed that it was omitted.
The movie did such justice in allowing for the quotes that readers loved to be included in the dialogue, but one of the most influential and significant quotes, “My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations”, was removed from the otherwise fully read letter at the end of the film. This quote, I believe should have made its way into the film. The omission of “I do, Augustus. I do” bothered me for a while after the film ended but once I began to think about it, I feel that “okay” was a perfect ending for those who had only experienced the film. (Although I still love this line and its connotations of Hazel and Augustus being together in the afterlife.)
Possibly the most disappointment I felt was in Augustus’ death. In his death in the book we had weeks of gradual and painful loss. Augustus turned into Gus and became bitter in his demise. This honest account of death was moving to me and the movie did not show the slow and painful side of death that we often feel. Though the post-Amsterdam scenes were all some of the most important and most moving, I wished for more, simply. Again, I realize that time limits this and that is something I am okay to live with.
As a movie from one of my favorite books, I can easily say that The Fault in Our Stars surpassed my expectations. The soundtrack of the film was a perfect testament for Hazel and Augustus’s love. The acting from Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort both felt so honest to the characters in the book. In reading other reviews, I noticed a lack of mention to Elgort’s performance as Augustus. Personally, Elgort portrayed the arrogant, charming, goofy boy just as I had imagined him in my head. Also, can we mention how perfectly accurate the crooked smile was during the first scene at Funky Bones? I am so grateful to both Woodley and Elgort for bringing my characters to life and portraying them with such grace and accuracy.
The movie felt so well done that I cannot wait to see it again, and maybe not be as picky this time. The Fault in Our Stars was a beautiful little infinity for me to enjoy… I cannot tell you have thankful I am for that.
Book to Movie Adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars: 8/10