This began as a book by the talented author John Green . It chronicles the fate of two star-crossed teens who both have experiences with cancer . The book was an incredible success – fan & critic wise – and quite quickly became a film . Our protagonist and narrator “Hazel Grace” is played by Shailene Woodley – and her love interest & generally adorable companion “Augustus Waters” is played by Ansel Elgort . The witty character “Issac” is immortalized by Nat Wolff & they case none other than Willem Dafoe portraying the ambivalent author of their favourite book . Quite the cast they assembled.
Rating : 8.5/10
Woodley had read the book and the moment it was in talks to become a movie she contacted Green to pledge her love of the book and her strong desire to play Hazel . She was considered for the part by the casting directors who were initially hesitant to choose her as she was 22 and was possibly “too old” to play a 16 year old – she wrote an impassioned plea and argued her case – and won. Shailene had quite long hair prior to filming this movie & obviously had to cut it very short to play Hazel – she (quite fittingly) donated her hair to a kids cancer charity that makes wigs for patients.
The story you embark upon whilst watching or indeed reading this book is far from a light & breezy tale – its honest, frank heart-wrenching – the movie prefaces this by beginning with hazel’s narration :
“I believe we have a choice in the world about how to tell sad stories – on the one hand you can sugar coat it – the way they do in movies & romance novels where beautiful people learn beautiful lessons & nothing is too messed up that cant be fixed w an apology & a peter gabriel song . I like that version as much as the next girl does, believe me . Its just not the truth . This is the truth . Sorry”.
Our story unfolds with a brief synopsis of our protagonists history – diagnosed at 13 – thyroid stage 4 – surgery, radiation, chemo etc. Dark harrowing stuff for a young girl.
Our protagonist Hazel very astutely comments “booklets and websites always list depression as a side affect of cancer – depression is not a side affect of cancer – its a side affect of dying” Damn is this girl’s thought process impressive . anyways on to the movie – we’ve got some incredible skills from the aforementioned Woodley.
A support group that brings our unconventional trio together.
& truthful realities.
The fault in our stars explores the relationship between two extraordinary people – human beings that have had to consider their own mortality before even becoming a teenager . We see strength & support.
A genuinely breath-taking and incredibly emotive speech, that even those made of stone would struggle to get through without feeling a lotta something.
We’ve some rare moments of bliss juxtaposed with the heavy subjects.
Some very reasonable responses to being asked if your okay after being broken up with. (Assassins Creed anyone?)
& a bitta comedic relief in the form of teenage clumsiness.
I truly think this is such an incredible genuine & candid exploration of the emotions, fears and feelings that people in these real life scenarios would have. It doesn’t sugar coat things and thats the beauty of it because life doesn’t sugar coat anything. We rarely see raw explorations of topics like these and its refreshingly honest.
For watching this movie i would recommend you get yourself mentally prepared. It is heavy, dark, contorted, inspiring & eloquent. Seriously thought-provoking and stays floating around in your mind for quite some time after giving you a peek behind the curtain at what the harsh realities of life are for a percentage of people. I don’t know a single person i wouldn’t recommend this movie too regardless of age, gender, interests. This is a piece that can be devoured by anyone and everyone as its topic is universal.
You’ve also got Ansel Elgort looking damn adorable as always – so get watching.
Background on the Movie Making process
A little background on the filming process. Nat Wolff who plays Isaac actually wore black-out contacts while shooting the scenes after Isaac has had his remaining eye removed. Wolff wanted to portray the character as accurately as possible.
The author John Green was on set for the majority of filming and hung around with the cast – discussed and dissected their characters with them to give it some more authenticity. So here’s a snippet of the behind the scenes banter had amongst the crew.
Ansel and Nat had a fairly strong bromance on set, having lived together on the same floor of their apartment for the whole of filming. It’s fair to assume that a lot of mischief occurred.
The pair even did a hilarious recreation of the promotional posters with one slight change.