Film Review: “The Fault in Our Stars”

***OUT OF 4

the-fault-in-our-starsDirector Joshua Boone delivers emotional impact with this fresh and poignant love story aimed straight for the hearts of 21st Century millennials. The film is adapted from John Green’s young-adult best seller from an astute script by Scott Neustader and Michael H. Weber who recently wrote “The Spectacular Now” and are known for “(500)Days of Summer”. It’s a modern day update of a movie released 50 years ago called “Love Story” which became a huge hit.

The movie which was produced for about $12 million is a phenomenon with teenage girls and is superbly acted by the up and coming Shailene Woodley whose vitae includes “The Descendants” to “Divergent”. Woodley plays Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16 year old whose love of life is as powerful as the thyroid cancer which requires her to wear a nasal cannula so she can achieve her requisite oxygen. Playing opposite her is Augustus Waters (a terrific Ansel Egort) who becomes the love of her life. He is introduced to us as cancer free but missing a leg due to the disease. What makes the film work so well is the focus is on the feelings of the characters not self pity or the cancer.

One of the most interesting aspects of the episodic story is Hazel’s literary obsession with a book called, fittingly, “An Imperial Affliction” by Peter Van Houten played pitch perfect by the great Willem Dafoe, a recluse who left the USA for Amsterdam. Hazel’s hero’s journey takes her and her family to Holland and she learns some hard truths about life on this capstone journey with Augustus.

“The Fault in Our Stars” delivers deep emotions without cheap manipulation. For this, I admire its steadfast tenacity and honesty. It’s the real thing.

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