(I got to see two amazing films this week, The Fault in Our Stars, and Begin Again, and I thought I’d share my thoughts – go watch them if you can, they’re both definitely worth seeing. )
The Fault in Our Stars
‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars.
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)
You know how sometimes, you just want to sob so hard that you’re afraid you’re going to choke? Nope? Just me? Well, if the urge ever strikes you, The Fault in Our Stars is really, properly, tears-streaming-down-your-face-and-making-your-t-shirt-soggy, just plain sad. It’s heartbreaking. But that’s how you know it’s a good movie. It really, really makes you feel something.
John Green has created an unexpected sensation with his most recent young adult novel, based around the crazy adorable love story of two teenagers on the brink of adulthood, and the friends and experiences which they have along the way.
Except that Hazel and Gus both have cancer. And that’s the thing about cancer. It’s not a fantasy foe which can be vanquished with some uplifting music and moments of sudden epiphany. And that full on sucks.
But don’t think for a second that the film is not funny. It is witty, and clever, and joyful, and Gus, who literally bumps into Hazel (and then into a door) at ‘Cancer Kid Support Group’, was actually massively annoying to me at first because he is so cocky, (in one of his first scenes he casually puts an unlit cigarette to his lips, and explains to Hazel that it’s a metaphor – ‘you put the killing thing between your teeth, but you do not give it the power to kill you’. If I was Hazel I would have told him that it was a stupid metaphor and a waste of money, but..) but he won me over, and by the end I think I was just as much as love with him as Hazel was.
The pair exchange adorable text messages, favourite books, and eventually, despite Hazel’s declining health, travel to Amsterdam to meet the author of ‘An Imperial Affliction’, Hazel’s literary obsession.
Shailene Woodley, the actress who plays Hazel, is dazzling from the start, and the chemistry between Augustus Waters (‘Gus’, played by Ansel Elgortt) and Isaac (Nat Wolff), his on (and off) screen best buddy, is absolutely perfect, and leads to some heartwarming (and heartbreaking) scenes.
Above: Shailene Woodley (Hazel), Nat Wolff (Isaac), Ansel Elgort (Augustus), John Green (Author and all around badass) are greeted by an adoring audience as the cult novel is turned into a box office hit.
Without going into too much detail about the plot, (no spoilers!), I can say that it is a funny, tragic story which explores the enormity of being alive, being in love, and if you have ever been seventeen, or head-over-heels for anybody, it will make your little heart happy to watch Hazel and Gus as they fall in love with each other. And then you’ll cry. You’ll cry a lot.
Ultimately, what is so uniquely heartbreaking is that it is just so unfair. There is no hope of a happy ending here. I think I was crying for a solid half hour at the end of the film because I knew what was going to happen, and I knew there was no saving grace. The writing engages deftly with the audience’s emotions throughout, (at one point I found myself both laughing and crying), and this truly is John Green at his best. Although it is really sad stuff, it’s a film which is definitely worth seeing. The Fault in Our Stars is amazing – as a book, as a movie, and as a portrayal of teenage love; the explosive, tragic nature of loss, and the brutality of cancer in young people (and, in all people). It might make you ugly-cry in front of a cinema full of strangers*, but that’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt. **
*(luckily a- it’s dark, and b- they’ll be sobbing into their popcorn too)
** from, An Imperial Affliction
#ontheblog tomorrow – Begin Again – another amazing film, with much less sobbing and more James Corden (although admittedly also much less Shailene Woodley, who may have to be my future wife… ) Big Love, PV x