If you have been following on my facebook page, you would have seen me post about watching the newly released The Fault In Our Stars. In fact I have even shared a short review of the book here previously. Adaptations, some love it, some hate it. Me frankly? I’m not fussed as long as the gist of it isn’t lost in translation. You see, there is always some differences when it comes to a book to movie adaptation, I mean come on. When you read a book it is based on YOUR translation, YOUR imagination, YOUR visualisation and interpretation of the book. The same goes for a movie; it is usually based on the scriptwriter’s and director’s interpretation and I honestly do not envy directors who have the task of bringing to life a rather popular novel. That is why I’m often open to interpretation and try not to be too judgmental. Let’s be fair, imagine having to squeeze a whole book that takes us more than two hours to finish into a movie that is about two hours or less! It is an arduous task.
For those unfamiliar with The Fault In Our Stars (I’m going to call it TFIOS for short), it is based on a young adult novel written by John Green. The novel centres around two teenagers who have been touched by cancer; Hazel Green (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort). While people might assume it’s all about cancer and death – well, yes it sort of is – in actual fact it is more about the journey, the idea of what happens those who are left behind and really, a story about strength, hope and in some ways loss of self. I can’t say much because if I did I would actually be giving the story away.
I loved the book and it moved me like no other book has, in fact causing me to have a rather ugly “snotty cry”. I was just glad my kids weren’t around to see that happen while I was reading the book. So I expected the film to touch me in the same way. And I have to say, it did. In fact, the whole cinema was full of sniffles during the heart rending scenes. Miss 10 was sobbing, Miss 12 was a quiet sniffler. Me? I just had tears streaming down my face that I could not control. In fact Miss 12 was surprised she cried even after having read the book (DUH!).
As to be expected, not everything in the book was included. Sure I can understand that we can’t squeeze everything in there but I thought they should have included more of Augustus’ character in there to show the difference of emotions that occurs much later on in the movie. Just to give the audience a deeper sense of understanding of why it was so tragic. Not that they didn’t but I can’t help wonder if I would have gotten the same sense of understanding had I NOT read the book first. Like I said, it’s not so much about cancer, it really is about the journey a person or people with any sort of illness and their family go through and more. The film though did make me “get” why the author that the teenagers were fans of; Peter Van Houten didn’t actually finish his novel. I already knew from the novel why he became such an angry man but, the question he posed to Hazel when she visited his home in the film (and book) – why does she care so much about what happens to the other characters – only hit home while I was watching the film. Because think about it, when you die, you just die, it’s the people that you leave behind that are forced to live their lives without you. How do you write that? How do you determine that? I got that part. That made me ponder about death – a lot.
Shailene and Ansel were superbly flawless as Hazel and Augustus, as was Natt Wolf as Isaac; Augustus’ best friend. William Dafoe made a great Peter Van Houten with his remarkable performance and overall I have to say, it had a stellar cast that brought the book to life. There is so much more to both the book and the film, and my verdict is? Go watch it. If you’re a sensitive soul, remember to bring a pack of tissues. You’re going to need it.