Full disclosure: I love the book by the same name written by John Green of vlogbrothers youtube fame. It is one of the best written works of the past ten years. Forget its genre. Forget that it’s YA. It’s brilliant on its own wonderful merits.
So I went into the movie, starring Shaiene Woodley and Ansel Elgort and directed by Josh Boone, with high expectations.
The movie, too, is a wonderful piece. Like the book, it does not sentimentalize the truth of cancer. It lets that truth stand for what it is; often unfair and ugly.
Green’s best “book-scenes” as well as his most affecting dialogue remain intact here. Woodley is good. There was never any doubt she would be. There is a heartfelt–but perhaps too short–performance by Laura Dern as the helicoptering mother of young Hazel Grace Lancaster.
Elgort’s Gus is likable, at turns sardonic, always kind and affectionate toward our Hazel, always ready with a metaphor. The simple metaphor, more than his wit, and thankfully more than the cancer that took his leg, is what makes Gus who Gus is. You gotta love a guy willing to put a cancer stick between his lips but who refuses to light it, just to show his cancer who has the power.
I won’t give anything away. If you’ve read the book, you know what happens. If not, still see the movie. In fact, make sure you see it.
Is the movie better than the book? No, but it comes in a very close second. For reference, there are only two movies better than the books they came from, in my opinion. Those were Forrest Gump and Field Of Dreams.
The Fault In Our Stars, A Josh Boone Film, 125 mins, PG-13, 5 stars!