Reviewed by Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child. Visit his website.
Director: Josh Boone
Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff
AGE RESTRICTION: [PG-13]
This is a good old fashioned family movie. It’s sad, and there’s some smooching, but it’s safe for your 13s and up.
Now, guys, I know there are a lot of you out there that don’t like ‘chick-flicks’ but to you all I say: “Grow up and go have a little weep at the cinema!”
This is a good film, it’s touching, and a bit funny, and very sad and makes for a good weepy night at the movies. And it’s a fantastic launch vehicle for the breathtaking Shailene Woodley.
Meet Hazel, a pretty, smart, slightly sad teenager with terminal lung cancer. But along with the whole dying-of-cancer-thing she’s also got a twinkle in her eye and quirky, knowing half smile tweaking out of the corner of her lips. Hazel meets Gus, a brash and over brimming with life boy who’s survived cancer, lost his leg in the process, and decided to take life by the horns and be something special. Their meeting is electric, and they both inexorably fall towards each other, a fiery young love affair, and tragic ending.
Now I said this is a great launch movie for the breathtaking Shailene Woodley, and that’s not strictly speaking fair. Ms Woodley has been around for yonks, her pro acting debut was in 1999 when she was eight, and she’s been going strong since then. But she’s grown up to be the most surprising of creatures. An un-Hollywood, Hollywood actress. She’s beautiful, but not traditionally so. She’s tall and a little gangly, but in a really feminine and, well … sexy, way. We’re soon to see her in the leading role in the upcoming Divergent, a Hunger Games like cult sci-fi novel turned movie. And perhaps, like the leading lady in Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence, she’ll maintain her qualities and also champion the rise of the ‘real woman’ in Hollywood. Anyway, she’s incandescent in The Fault in Our Stars. It’s a quiet and subtle incandescence, there’s nothing flashing about her performance, but she’s deeply believable, and I quickly found I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
Co-starring with her is the also relative newcomer, Ansel Elgort, who your teenage daughters are going to want to hang posters of in their bedrooms, and hell, your teenage sons may want to, too. He’s very good in the film. He’s charming and suave, but also tender and vulnerable. He’s the perfect match for Ms Woodley’s rounded, shy charm, and the two of them sparkle.
The film is directed by Josh Boone, who hasn’t done very much, but seems to do it very well. The film is pacey but not rushed, subtle but also funny and charming, touching but not gooey. The performances are, almost bar none, solid, believable and compelling. He got tears out of me, and I shed them joyously and with relish, because to be moved by a film is a great thing, even when you’re moved to tears. So well done Mr Boone.
This is a great film. It just barely lost out on the 4/5 mark because … hell I don’t know why. If I had a 3.9999999/5 score it would get it. It’s a good, solid tearjerker, well worth the watch.