I have read a number of reviews that have called The Fault In Our Stars “the best romance of the decade”. Well, some may consider this a bold statement, but truthfully this decade has been pretty crappy for romances. I can’t think of one truly great romance to come out in the last several years outside of Silver Linings Playbook. However, most would not consider that a traditional romance. I wouldn’t really consider The Fault In Our Stars a traditional romance either, but it is certainly about as romantic as a movie can be. Which is a good thing when it comes to this film.
The reason this movie works so well is fairly simple. The cast. Most importantly the lead performances by the charming Ansel Elgort and the heartbreakingly wonderful Shailene Woodley. These two are so good together that I might have liked this movie even without the decent story around it or the way it digs into cancer. However, when you add those into an already beautiful romance, it makes for quite the emotional experience.
The story here is about a teenage girl (in college) who has had cancer since she was 13 years old. This girls name is Hazel Grace (Woodley) and she is a pretty delightful person for someone who is about to die. The reason for this is that she has just met a boy named Gus and she just might be in love. Gus (Elgort) is a recent cancer survivor who meets Hazel at one of their support groups. It’s pretty clear within moments that they like each other and their chemistry is electric. Every time they see each other you want to swoon for them.
However, as I mentioned before, this is a movie about cancer, so things are not always going to be peachy. As a matter of fact, towards the end things get to the point where your ability for human emotion is truly tested. Yet, even with all the sadness that comes, the movie is mostly up lifting. It is a movie about the importance of every single moment and taking advantage of the time you have. It is also about finding love without prejudice and putting someone else ahead of yourself. There is no silly moment where one of the lovers screws up for some stupid reason and they have to walk around trying to figure out what to do until they inevitably get back together for the happy ending. This movie feels real. No room for most cliches’.
Still, even with all the things that the movie does right, there are some things that it does wrong. The biggest thing being the character Willem Dafoe plays. I won’t ruin it for anyone who hasn’t read the book, but let’s just say that his character feels completely unnecessary at times and almost pulls the emotion out of an ending that was quite powerful. Other than Dafoe, I had a little issue with the way Hazel would tell us certain things before they happen. This is a devise that is being more commonly used now and do not like it.
Yet, these are very small complaints about an otherwise beautiful film. I’m certainly sure that if you are a fan of the novel you will be the first in line to see this, but I’d recommend it to those that haven’t. I don’t care if you typically like sappy romances either. I think most people will like this film. They will connect with these characters. They will feel their love. They will feel their pain. Most importantly, they will care. Which is all that you can ask out of any movie. Do I care? Yes, I do.
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