Popcorn and a Book (36): The Fault in Our Stars

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The Book: 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Dutton Books)

The Film: 2014

The Fault in Our Stars directed by Josh Boone (Temple Hill Entertainment)

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read the book, this review hints at spoilers.

The Fault in Our Stars was a blockbuster of a book that had a lot to live up to when it hit theatres. But the movie proved itself mighty in it’s first weekend at the box office already grossing over $48 million (Go Nerdfighters!). Makes sense considering the wide cross-over appeal of this YA novel and its already huge following. But I place little stock in box office scores when it comes to book adaptations, especially with a book as near and dear to my heart as this one. If you’ve read by book review of TFIOS (found here), you will know that like so many other readers this book left me a blubbering puddle of tears. Even the trailer had me tearing up. Needless to say my expectations were high—and that’s usually my downfall—but I went in prepared, with my box of tissues, a hand to hold, and a firm understanding of the heartbreak I was about to put myself through. And I am pleased to report that the TFIOS movie does the book proud. Very proud.

From the moment the lights lowered and the laughter subsided after someone shouted “Everybody ready to cry?!” I was caught up in the heartbreaking magic of this story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a girl who falls in love with a boy she meets in a cancer support group. The movie stays very true to the book, including details and dialogue straight from the pages of John Green’s work. It is plain to see that the author, the director and the crew put a great deal of effort into making sure the movie didn’t let fans down. Even though some details were skipped over (as happens in any adaptation), the movie doesn’t veer off course at all. The story is the same; it plays out pretty much the same. And for that I am grateful.

And for those who haven’t read the book, but are interested in the movie, the story is pretty tightly woven and easy enough to follow along without feeling like you’re missing some key details. But read the book anyway. Just do it. There are so many amazing, heart-squeezing moments and beautiful writing that you’re missing out on if you don’t. If you’ve read the book before, I think it provides a lot more meaning to some of Hazel and Gus’s actions.

The only thing I was surprised was cut out, and that I missed, was Gus’s fight with his parents before the trip and his struggle at the Anne Frank House. Until he tells Hazel his horrible news, we don’t see any cracks in his happy-go-lucky façade.

Shailene Woodley was amazing as Hazel! She was genuine and funny and strong and fragile. For me, she was the glue that made everything work. She made me believe. I also adored Laura Dern as Mrs. Lancaster. I found her portrayal of Hazel’s mom very real and true to her character. Ansel Elgort’s Augustus Waters was solid though I did find some of his lines came off a bit stiff—not enough to put me off his character but enough that I noticed.

One of the things I loved about the book was its ability to make me cry and laugh—sometimes even on the same page. The movie was the same. One minute I’d be laughing and the next I’d have tears dripping off my chin. And when it came to the eulogies, I was a wreck. I tried to keep my sobs/sniffles quiet so I (and those around me) could hear the movie but in the end I needn’t have worried—the poor girl a few seats down from me was curled up crying audibly into the front of her shirt. So I may have missed a few lines. Oh, well. That just means I get to watch it again (and again and again).

Although I can’t express enough how much I love the book, with book or film Hazel and Gus’s story gives me the feels. And I love every laugh-and-sob-inducing moment of both.

Don’t forget your tissues!

~

Have you seen the movie? Share your reactions in comments.

For more information about “Popcorn and a Book” or if you would like to write your own P&B post, please visit the “Popcorn and a Book” main page for details.

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