Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Cast: Shailene Woodley (Hazel Grace Lancaster), Lily Kenna (Young Hazel Grace Lancaster), Ansel Elgort (Augustus Waters), Nat Wolff (Issac), Laura Dem (Frannie Lancaster), Sam Trammell (Michael Lancaster), Willem Dafoe (Peter Van Houten), Lotte Verbeek (Lidewij Vliegenthart), Mike Birbiglia (Patrick)
Genre: Romance, Drama
Direction: Josh Boone
Production: Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen
Written By: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Based on: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Cinematographer: Ben Richardson
Editor: Robb Sullivan
Music: Mike Mogis, Nate Walcott
Production Company: Temple Hill Entertainment
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox                                                        
Release Date: 4th July, 2014 (India)
Language: English
Duration: 2 hours 05 minutes

The Fault in Our Stars, a film by Josh Boone, is based on the novel by the same name by Josh Green. It is emotionally intense. There are so many moments in the movie which gave a lump in my throat. It is a tragic love story of two cancer-stricken people who are almost dying. Yet, characters are so positive. One knows that much time is not left in life, but still, one has the desire to live life in the best manner possible. One character fears oblivion after death, and another character feels that it is inevitable. One is worried, what will happen to her parents after her death and another character takes efforts to write his own eulogy. The family goes to any extent to keep the diseased as happy as possible. No tone of self-pity in the movie. The film is not about crying over what we don’t have or what we may lose, but learning to live life in what we have and what we do. It is not the fear of the death that makes one bitter, but lack of love does. The protagonists understand that “The world is not a wish-granting factory”, yet they want to make the best of their wishes come true in the limited lifespan. It is true that ‘Pain demands to be felt’, the pain of the diseased demands to be felt. What a wonderful movie, which makes you cry and laugh with the characters. ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ – yes, this could be true, we may not be able to fight with the destiny but still we can choose how to respond towards that destiny.

The movie begins with the narration of a sixteen-year old Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley), who is suffering from thyroid cancer. She was diagnosed with cancer at the age of thirteen, and cancer has metastasized into her lungs. So, she is on oxygen support all the time, breathing with the help of a nose cannula. She repeatedly reads a book ‘An Imperial Affliction’ by Peter Van Houten, which is about a girl Anna dying from cancer, and it ended mid-sentence. Hazel always wanted to seek answer to the question that what happens later after Anna’s death.  Her parents Frannie Lancaster (Laura Dem) and Michael Lancaster (Sam Trammell) feel that she is depressed whereas Hazel is not ready to accept the same.

On parents’ insistence, Hazel, though reluctantly, agrees to attend a cancer patients’ support group. Hazel embarks a different journey altogether. There she meets many people suffering just like her. One of them is charming and cheerful Augustus Waters aka Augustus (Ansel Elgort). Augustus suffered from osteosarcoma, which led to amputation of his leg, and now almost recovered. Both of them bond together and start hanging out. Augustus clamps an unlit cigarette in his mouth as a metaphor- allowing the instrument of death to sit between his teeth powerless. Hazel starts looking at life with a new perspective, discovers the world beyond hospitals, medication, pain and cancer. Their heartfelt exchanges give great moments in the movie. Issac (Nat Wolff) also joins them in between, who is getting blind due to cancer. Issac brings lot of humour into the scenes.

Even when things are not fine in their lives, the lead protagonist’s good-bye is ‘okay’.

Understanding Hazel’s love for her favourite book’s (An Imperial Affliction) author Peter Van Houten and her desire to seek answers for cryptic end of the book, Augustus takes efforts to contact the author.

Does Hazel manage to meet the author Peter Van Houten and seek answers from him? How does the relationship between Hazel and Augustus shape up? How do they fight their disease and the harsh reality of their lives? How do they prepare for the toughest acceptable fact i.e death ? Watch the movie. What an earnest performance from everyone in this movie.  

The Fault in Our Stars, a heart-rending tale of two dying teenagers gives tears in your eyes, and it makes us appreciate what we have in our lives.

Rating: 4 / 5 (Very Good)