The Fault In Our Stars (2014)


Having cancer doesn’t really have to be all that bad, now does it?

Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shaliene Woodley) is your typical sixteen-year-old girl; she’s sassy, wants to have fun, listens to cool bands, loves her parents, and is taking up classes when she can. She also wants a fake ID, so you know she’s exactly like every other teenager that’s ever lived a day in their lives. However, what separates Hazel from most other teenage girls, is that she’s suffering from cancer. She gets by with her oxygen tank that she hauls around wherever she goes, but for the most part, she knows that anytime, at any place, she could be gone from this world. However, Hazel isn’t all about soaking in her own misery and decides to look at it in a relatively positive light; yet, she doesn’t care too much about telling others about it. That’s why when she’s forced to go into a support-group for fellow cancer patients, she couldn’t be less miserable. That is, until she meets a charming, older guy by the name of Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), whom also is suffering from cancer. The two strike a bond that automatically has them deciding whether or not they should be together, considering that their fates are unpredictable, yet, they still stick together and see where it can go. But don’t forget, for most people, when one has cancer, it hardly ever fully leaves the body forever, until the end of time. Sometimes, it can come back and ruin lives more effectively than ever before.

Considering that I myself am a young adult, I’ve heard my fair share of talk surrounding the novel of this movie. Many girls loved it, some didn’t, and most dudes hated hearing about it. I didn’t necessarily care, however, what I did hear was that it was a lot better and smarter than many of those other young adult, sappy-romance novels that never cease to keep on being released to mass-mediums. That’s what got me slightly interested about this movie; thinking that maybe, just a big maybe, this novel-adaptation could be different and change the game for other young adult novel adaptations from here on out.

Don't worry, concerned parents, I can assure that it's only grape juice in their glasses.
Don’t worry, concerned parents, I can assure that it’s only grape juice in their glasses. It just so happens to look as if they are consuming champagne under legal-age.

Sadly, my mind was wrong.

However, according to the rest of the theater I was in, I’m a total idiot and have no idea what I’m talking about. Why is that? Well, for starters, all of the young tweenie-boppers in my theater loved this movie – they laughed at every joke (regardless of whether or not it was actually “funny”), went “aaawww” whenever somebody said a romantic-line (even if it was schmaltzy beyond belief), and cried whenever something bad was about to happen to one person, or had already happened (okay, I’ll give them that, some of the stuff was pretty sad). And there’s no reason they shouldn’t have loved it – they’re are this movie’s target-audience.

That’s why whenever a movie is released and a certain group of people, or persons, adore one movie (regular, everyday citizens), and a certain group of other people, or persons, don’t wholly agree (critics), there’s a huge backlash, where words are exchanged, death threats are thrown out, and subscribers are lost till the end of time. That’s one risk any human takes when forming their own opinions and decides to make it public for the rest of the world to see; that’s the risk I took, and honestly, I’m a better person for it. Not because I like to inadvertently tell certain people to “fuck off” whenever I damn well please, but because it allowed me to see just how differently my mind works from other’s.

And trust me, I don’t do that because I want to think differently like others and be considered “hip”, or “cool”, or “annoying” (I usually am considered this by others regardless of what I say), but I do that because it’s my voice. Hear it or not, it’s my voice. Deal with it.

The reason why I’ve gone into total “preach-mode” is because I know, as soon as this review is posted, so many human specimens are going to get on my ass because I: a) didn’t love this movie with all of my heart, b) haven’t read the book, or c) all of the above. And that’s fine, but there’s a reason why I don’t like certain movies – and it’s not to just break from the norm and show everybody how much of a rebel I am. Because see, something with this movie was just not clicking for me.

The acting from Shaliene Woodley was fine, in fact, she downright saves this movie, so it definitely wasn’t her. No, it was more that the tone to this movie just felt so one-note the whole entire time. I get that this is something of a cancer-dramedy in which these characters sort of understand that they have cancer, know it sucks, and do whatever they can to make their situation better by just noticing it and moving on, but for the first hour, that’s the whole movie. There’s hardly any drama, and just all comedy; comedy which, mind you, wasn’t all that funny and felt terribly tacked-on.

For instance, this character of Augustus who, on paper, sounds like a total dream boat that any girl, cancer patient or not, would go buck wild for (maybe even some curious guys, too, but that’s a different story). He’s smart, funny, chock full of wit, spirited, loves to have himself a good time, and is never against using a metaphor he doesn’t like. In essence, he’s what every girl wants their boyfriend to be, but the problem is: He’s only “real”, in a movie sense. Somebody like Augustus may exist out there, but if that is the case, I do not want to know him. To me, every time Augustus showed up and spouted some line that was supposed to make him sound “witty”, I got even more and more annoyed by his character.

That’s not to say Ansel Elgort isn’t good as him – more often than not, the dude really does try. However, he’s just given some really lame material that has him doing the same act, practically the whole damn time, and even when he does get serious, he’s so far gone into “goofy” territory, that it’s hard to take him at all serious. And yes, I know that because he has cancer, we’re supposed to feel sorry for him, and I’m not saying that she shouldn’t, it’s just hard for me to really get behind a character that feels so fake, annoying, and around as a “type”, rather than an actual human being that I would meet in real life, have a cup of Joe with, talk to, and enjoy my time with.

Oh, just do it already! Spare us!
Oh, just do it already! Spare us!

Sorry, everybody. Maybe I’m just a depressed, angry asshole that doesn’t like fun.

Like I said earlier though, Woodley is probably the saving-grace to this movie because she feels somewhat real when placed against everybody else. But what brings Woodley down is that the way we’re introduced to Hazel Grace, makes it seem like she’s something of a rebel herself; she doesn’t want to be treated like a cancer patient, she doesn’t want anybody’s pity, and she sure as hell doesn’t want to do all of that corny, “falling in love” crap that she sees done in the mainstream media. However, without saying too much that would jeopardize my respect with fellow bloggers, she starts to fall for those corny cliches and it makes it seem like the movie didn’t really think all of those ideas out well enough. It just threw it on there to show that she’s somewhat different, and that’s about it. Woodley’s still good, but man, it just sucks when a character gets written one way, and turns out another way, without any real, believable transition to be found anywhere.

And before I head off into a cabin in the woods where I’ll most likely be hiding for the next week or so after this is posted, I will say that I did tear-up a bit by the end. However, that’s only because I feel like I had finally given up on trying to stiff-arm this movie into making me tear. Because, for the whole two-hour run-time, you can feel this movie just reaching deep inside of you, trying to get anything close to resembling an emotion of sadness or sentimentality, and it downright annoyed me. But, like I said, before the movie was up, I succumbed to this movie’s over-powering strength and felt one, teenie, tiny, small tear run down my right cheek. I should have taken a picture or something, but I assure you, it was nothing compared to the kinds of tears I produce while watching Hardball.

Please, don’t anybody show this review to my father. Something tells me I’d be without a roof over my head for quite some time.

Consensus: While its heart is in the right place, the Fault in Our Stars is just too one-note and unbelievable, for so long, to where when it does get serious and melodramatic, it feels drastic and needy, rather than understandable and heartfelt. Also not to mention that Augustus can get real annoying, real quick after he’s introduced.

5 / 10 = Rental!!

We get it, you're adorable. Damn, meddling kids.
We get it, you’re adorable. Damn, meddling kids.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBAceShowbiz

29 comments

  1. Nice review man, one of the first negatives I’ve read on it. I’m not sure if I’m going to like it; I think I know exactly what you’re talking about when you say the film’s themes just tried way too hard to get a certain emotion out of you, that gets on my nerves too. Maybe it won’t be as bad for me, we’ll see. Hoping to get to it this weekend

  2. Looks like a maudlin hunk of schmaltz to me, but sometimes that can be okay. Good review.

  3. You just highlighted every reason I don’t even want to see this movie.. and didn’t even take up the offer of a free screening 2 weeks ago. plus the fact that I don’t want to go to a movie to be depressed and hate cancer dying movies as too many family/close friends have passed from it.. ugh!! thanks for confirming this for me..cheers!

  4. I’m not planning to see this.film. But I enjoyed your review.

    The simple truth is that you see films, and you write about them, So do I. End of story. You feel the way you feel about any film you see, and YOU don’t have to accommodate any one else’s view point. And the same for me, and all the other folks who write about films.

    We as readers of your posts – have the option of stopping any time we want.. And that keeps all of us in balance. It is the equalizer.

    Keep the reviews coming, Thanks.

  5. Great Review man! Every student at my high school is losing their freaking mind over this movie, but I just can’t get past the massive amount of sentimentality that is sure to be forced down my throat if I dare watch it.

  6. Fair review. I expected more from this movie, actually found it a little boring at times until it became sad and then I balled like a baby.

  7. Great review Dan, though I must say that I am really looking forward to this. I loved the book, and I really hope that the movie is able to live up to it, or at least do it some form of justice.

  8. Great review. I started the book and had the same feelings about Augustus…it’s just too contrived and unbelievable. A friend told me that he’s “Edward from Twilight, but with cancer.” I know that sounds harsh, but I thought for a bit that she was right. Perpetuating the belief to young girls that all romance and relationships have to be just like this and anything else is beneath them. In short, I enjoyed your review and will opt to rent this one if the mood grabs me.

    • It all feels so soapy, even if it does like to place itself in some sort of bleak reality. However, it just never worked or seemed believable to me.

  9. Dan, God bless you for seeing this movie, you have way stronger movie going chops than I. This was not ever going to be watched by me, and I bet you were being nice giving it a score of 5 lol. I can’t stand too much melodrama and this looked like it would have made me nauseous!!! You are pretty brave. Good review.

  10. I found Fault in Our Stars funny, but I agree that the character Gus is totally annoying and smug. I hope that real people aren’t like him. I felt like the film was too long and emotionally manipulative in some places when it didn’t need to be. Overall I liked it though. Humorous, poignant, and well-acted. I definitely got misty during a few points, although I didn’t have tears streaming down my cheeks or anything.

  11. To Me it was just an teenager film that din’t go well. It was predictable as hell. It was driving crazy. They messed up that one. I didn’t read the book not my kind of story. I went to see the film because a lot of people liked it. At the end I said to myself what a waste to make this film. Of course every teenager are going to love this film.

  12. Reading this review made me decided to follow you on wordpress. haha! you’re the only one i know who I feel was honest about this movie! Oh man I hate this kind of movies! and books.

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