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Terry's Take

Movie Review: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

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Author John Green's "young adult" novel called THE FAULT IN OUR STARS has been on the best seller list for well over a year. It's a powerful, realistic novel about the friendship/romance of two teenagers who have terminal cancer.

The movie version is pretty faithful to the book, and it's worth seeing especially for the fine acting of its young co-stars, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.
 
Woodley as Hazel (voice over): This is the truth (of my life with cancer): doctors appointments, reality shows, worst of all, support group.
Support group leader singing: Christ is our friend and he'll be there till the end….(song ends) All right. Hazel, how're you doin'?
Hazel: You mean besides the cancer. All right, I guess.

What I like most about this movie is the strong but vulnerable performance of Woodley as Hazel, a down-to-earth, cynical young woman who detests the phony sentiment in her support group and doesn't shrink from the reality of her cancer.

Hazel is surprised and pleased when the good looking, Gus, another person with cancer played, by Ansel Elgort, is interested in her. But when he pulls out a cigarette in the middle of their first conversation, she goes ballistic.

Hazel: Even though you had freakin' cancer, you're willing to give money to a corporation for the chance to acquire even more cancer? Let me just tell you that not being able to breathe sucks.
Gus: Hazel Grace, they don't actually hurt you unless you light 'em.
Hazel: Huh?
Gus: I never lit one. It's a metaphor, see. You put the thing that does the killing right between your teeth, but you never give it the power to kill you: a metaphor!

I wasn't as touched by the movie as I was by the novel, maybe because I already knew the plot. And I also missed Hazel's voice telling the story. Her utterly honest, smart, sometimes cynical narration in the book reminded me of Holden Caulfield in THE CATCHER IN THE RYE. Still, I think the movie really captures the doomed relationship of Gus and Hazel.
 
Gus: I hope you realize that you trying to keep your distance from me in now way lessens my affection for you. ….
Hazel: Gus, I'm a grenade. One day I'm gonna blow up and I'm gonna obliterate everything in my wake, and I don't know, I feel like its my responsibility to minimize the casualties.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is a sad story, but it's also uplifting to see these two young characters living the lives they have left in the best ways they can.
        
The movie isn't as good as the book, but maybe there's no way it could be.
 
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.