Some movies you see a trailer for and you already know that it’s going to punch you in the gut and then laugh. You know it’s going to be a rollercoaster of emotion but you still go pay the theater and wait for it to happen. Welcome to The Fault in Our Stars.
The gist is that Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) has cancer and is at peace with what’s happening to her, but then her world is turned upside down when she falls in love with cancer survivor Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort). She is supported by her parents (Laura Dern and Sam Trammell).
That’s a really short summary (and a bit of a disservice to the movie) but this movie isn’t about what happens, it’s watching the people that it happens to. So you really don’t need to know much more.
Shailene Woodley is going to be huge, someday soon. After the hit or miss The Spectacular Now and then the big teen action flick Divergent, this films adds another impressive addition to that list. She does a great job here as Hazel Grace but the real surprise is Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters. For me, he was probably the more interesting character in the film and his performance in the final act especially was incredible.
Now, you know from the trailers that this movie is going to make you cry. Yes, it will. But it will also make you laugh, much more than I expected. While Hazel and Augustus struggle with very serious issues, they never lose their sense of humor, and this levity helped us (as an audience) to cope with some of these issues.
What doesn’t work?
It can be a little intense emotionally, so if you’re not ready for that… beware. Also, it gets a little sappy, so quite a few people in my theater opted to laugh instead of buying into the story. See this movie with as few people as possible, even if that means waiting til it comes out on DVD.
Yes, this is an emotional roller coaster but I don’t regret a thing. The movie is packed with great moments and stellar performances by everyone involved. It’s funny and sad and hopeful and everything you’d want from a movie like this. Not necessarily a “must see in theaters” experience, as seeing it in your own home might allow you to experience the emotions of the film without shame.