The Fault in our Stars - - - Movie Review
This book, this story, has touched so many, has inspired and changed so many. The months leading up to this movie I was excited, but also sort of petrified. This movie, I knew, would be vitally important to so many people. YA book-to-movie-adaptations have been getting a lot of buzz recently, both good and bad and mediocre, and this is an area that is important to all of us. But we need some buzz, some really good buzz to keep us going in this movement, so that more and more books that we love can become beautiful movies. To show producers that The Hunger Games and Twilight weren't just flukes, and that this genre has a fanbase that is demanding content, and that we will support those who provide it.
This movie was gorgeous. Absolutely and mind-blowingly gorgeous. I have only used this word to describe a book-to-movie adaptation once (For Catching Fire), but I'm about to be using it again: This movie was perfect. I have no issues with it, only things by which I was completely and utterly astounded.
The casting was beyond perfect. Ansel and Shailene shone in this movie, and I adored their portrayals of these characters. They captured their essences, the faults as well as the strengths. Ansel captured the grandness that is Augustus Waters, but he also owned the weakness of Gus. And he made the transition between the two seem so natural, so heartbreaking. The scene in the gas station broke me in two, and was, in my opinion, the most hard-hitting scene in the movie. It struck a cord in me, the hatred and disappointment that Augustus had in his life, the weakness he felt. It came to a perfect arc, all due to Ansel's brilliant acting.
As well as the emotion, he played the goofiness just as well, which must have been so hard to do. But it felt natural. Of course Augustus would want to be brave, and of course physical weakness was the only option he had in the end. But it didn't feel like an "of course", it felt like a progression, like a deconstruction of all that Augustus presented himself to be, just like it needed to feel.
And Shailene perfectly captured Hazel. I loved how obviously her cynicism was, how vital they kept it to her character. I loved how they humanized her, how they made sure that she was primarily a girl, rather than primarily a girl with cancer. She possessed all emotions. She made them her own. Her anger, her sadness, her enthusiasm. It all felt genuine to her specific place in the story, to her specific moments.
Laura Dern did such a great job with Hazel's mom. I didn't feel like this was a woman acting like a mother. I felt like this was a mother, feeling the pain of her child and trying to live through it.
And can we talk about Nat Wolff. CAN WE TALK ABOUT NAT WOLFF. He did a phenomenal job with every single scene he was given. Isaac is one of my favorite characters from the book, and his character was allowed to exist so fully, even while remaining thoroughly and appropriately in the background.
This movie made tangible what felt so intangible. It gave vision to a printed story and it gave an expanded life to these characters. This movie was the moments between moments, beyond just the moments themselves. For this reason, it felt like life and it felt like love and it felt like heartbreak. Distilled emotion in a visual format. Rather than an unwelcome addition to this story, this movie became a natural extension of it. The book will always hold my heart with its words, but this is the same story and it is beautiful.
None of the wit was dropped. None of the emotion slipped through the cracks. None of the characters or their dynamics fell by the way side. Faithful to the extreme and ultimately extremely beautiful, this movie has taken up residence in my heart - mixing with the words of this story, creating something visual and printed, something tangible and intangible. Something more.