It was pretty inevitable that I would cry at The Fault in Our Stars. I cried at the book, I cried at the advert and I cried at the songs. So, yes, I cried at the film. A lot.
There was a huge amount of hype surrounding the film adaptation of John Green’s best-selling novel and it seemed as if an audience, predominately female, predominately teenager, were already firmly in place to watch and adore the film, perhaps without hesitation or thought. Green’s gentle but intelligent writing style translated well into the film and Shailene Woodley’s narration did a great job of conveying Hazel’s bittersweet first-person narrative. Both Woodley and Ansel Elgort were wonderful in bringing such beloved characters to life and, for me, they were the perfect incarnations of Hazel and Augustus.
I couldn’t help but notice how much the film really nailed the whole iPhone/text relationship, the montage of Hazel checking her phone increasingly often whilst waiting for Gus’ reply pretty much the perfect portrayal of any love-sick young person in the twenty-first century. We’ve all seen the use of text messages and emails clumsily introduced into a film, but the graphics surrounding the texts and emails in TFiOS were very clever and realistic. The makers clearly knew their target audience and they did well to capture the normality, as well as the irregularlity, of teenage life.
The soundtrack was also pretty great, with a surprisingly British cast comprised of artists such as Ed Sheeran, Birdy, Charli XCX and Tom Odell. My favourite track has to be Birdy’s haunting ‘What About Angels’ which would have almost definitely made me cry without being in association with the book. This girl has far too much talent for someone so young.
I wasn’t surprised that the writers decided to get rid of Augustus’ dead girlfriend because it kind of ruins the purity of his relationship with Hazel a little. It did, however, change the nature of their relationship and made it perhaps a bit too sickly sweet. I liked the fact that he had emotional baggage in the book – it made him a little more human and their relationship a little more normal. By removing her entirely they almost glorified his innocence a little too much. I’m not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, but I can understand why the decision was made. I just felt it was a shame to miss out on adding some complexity to their romance.
So overall, I loved the film. Of course. I always knew I would. I cried from Amsterdam until the end and my friends had to endure my awkward nose sniffling and quiet sobbing for over an hour as I wept profusely into my Minstrels. I feel like a lot of people might be put off by its infamous slushiness and by the almost hysterical hype surrounding it online, but it holds so much more than just emotional porn (is that a thing?!) for teens. The Fault in Our Stars teaches us to celebrate life, whatever kind we have, and to learn how to accept our faults – both figuratively, and in the metaphorical sense of fate that Green intended with his titular Shakespearian reference. The film is cliché, of course it is, but it also isn’t at the same time. I think it will touch a lot more hearts than expected and I’m sure that the box office earnings have already proven that.
If you’re interested, I reviewed the book over a year ago, wayyy before a lot of the hype. I’m such a literary hipster. You can read it here.