Movie Review: The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

Posted: March 1, 2015 in Drama, Romance
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the fault in our stars

Cancer patient Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) has to be talked into going to her cancer support group until she meets Augustus Waters,  (Ansel Elgort) a handsome cancer survivor with an amputated leg.  They don’t get along at first, but soon  they are talking about and reading each other’s favorite books, and reading them.  Hazel’s favorite book is An Imperial Affliction, by Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe) Gus reads it and starts corresponding with Van Houten.  Van Houten is so impressed by the young cancer patients that he invites them to Amsterdam if they can ever come.  Travel to Amsterdam is a problem until Gus uses his cancer wish to get a trip to Amsterdam.  But another hurdle crops up when Hazel’s doctors forbid her to travel.  Do they ever get to Amsterdam? How long do they survive the cancer that has ravaged their bodies?

There are two kinds of young adult films these days.  Teens fighting against a dystopian future, and teens coming to grips with their mortality.  The Fault In Our Stars is the second.  Let me tell you what I don’t like about this movie, it sets about naming the clichés of the types of movies, and then repeats all those clichés.  Good looking teens fall in love while denying they are good looking or in love.  They make fun of friends who are in love and say “always” to describe their love for each other, but then come up with their own code word.  Gus puts an unlit cigarette in his mouth as a metaphor, and does it for the whole movie.  Gus is a virgin.  Really?  Not bloody likely. And of course they’re too cool for religion, so they are agnostic.  The writers makes the religious guy a caricature, and as phony as they possibly can, all the better to make fun of him, Gus; best friend Isaac disappears for most of the movie only to re-appear toward the end of the film, Isaac was only used to introduce Hazel and Gus.  What I liked about this movie was the Van Houten character, he poured some cold water on all the drippy romance, thank goodness Van Houten was around. The travelogue aspect of the movie is decent, although I wonder if teens even know who Anne Frank is these days. But any good is lost because the ending is inevitable and predictable.

The acting was ok.  I didn’t like Shailene Woodley’s character, but she did her best, in a weepy romantic drama  Ansel Elgort did a great job with a badly written role, his wit and charm made the character tolerable.  Willem Dafoe was just what the doctor ordered for a movie like this, although his attempt at a Dutch accent made me laugh.  I don’t know what was more depressing, the ending of this movie or the fact that Laura Dern is playing someone’s mother.

The direction is non-exist ant, except for some nice shots of stars.  If the ending of the movie is predictable and inevitable, why does it have to be 2 hours and 15 minutes long?  How about some editing?  How about a lot of editing?

The Fault is In Our Stars:  The fault is in their script.

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