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The Fault in Our Stars first really good film of the summer

Paul Peterson

Paul Peterson

I’ve seen the first really good film of the summer.
The Fault In Our Stars is a hugely successful book written by John Green and adapted for the screen by Scott Neustadter and Michael H Weber. I don’t know Green’s work, but Neustadter and Weber wrote 500 Days of Summer which is a little gem of a film from a few years back.
So, I’m already a fan.
I know the book was a huge bestseller and translated into a big opening day audience eagerly anticipating Notebook-like results on the Silver Screen. By all reports, director Josh Boone nailed it.
I can’t comment on how true-to-the-book they are, but I absolutely loved this movie. The title comes from Shakespeare’s Julies Caeser when Xassius says to Brutus – “The fault , dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves, that we are underlings”.
Enter Gus and Hazel, two cancer survivors with a whole lot of attitude and a amazingly charming way of being with each other.

Spoiler alert:
I can’t review this film properly without going into the details of the story. So accept the fact that there’s going to be some sadness. This is a story about two people in the hugest risk category to not see the end of their own movie.
Played pitch perfect by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Egort this is a masterpiece in casting. Linda Dern as Hazel’s mom is endearing without being pitiful and Hazel’s dad is an enigma of soft spoken something that I just can’t put my finger on but I didn’t want to punch him in the head so I suppose that’s a victory.

A friend asked me if it’s easier to write a negative or a positive review. Hands down negative is easier.
Pick a couple of points, be sarcastic and then just trash someone’s five year labor of love. If it’s a good review though you want to get it right.
I really want to get this one right.
The writing is exceptional. The story is anything but cliche.

In the middle of this lovely little picture and two improbable lovers, the story veers off for this refreshing twist in the plot that involves our stars going to Amsterdam to chase down the author of Hazel’s favourite novel, played impeccably by Willem Dafoe.
It’s so refreshing to see how this all plays out. It really excited me. I see so many films that trot out the same cliches. It’s tedious.

Fault in our Stars never takes the easy way out. There are tender mercies aplenty. But there are terrible truths as well and in spite of it all, it’s a victory. I understand that I am drawn to this kind of movie.
I like films where people are nice to each other. Where there is this quiet kind of dignity that occurs naturally without clubbing us with sentimentality.
If there’s a lesson here it’s that love matters. We don’t need to live lives on a huge scale, and that being loved deeply can make all the difference.

I thought this film transcended the conventional chick flick. Oh sure, it’s a bit of a weepfest, and I had to watch Die Hard right after they rolled credits on this one just to get my testosterone back up to some kind of manageable level, but it’s so well written that it redefined the genre.
I liked these people.
Gus is a good guy. Hazel Grace is moody and a bit of a pain but then again, if the grim reaper was stalking me with that dirt nap pillow I might not be the delight I currently am.
Go see this movie.
It’s a great way to swallow a couple of hours. It ends too soon which is not something I say easily but is a rather approriate tag line given the subject matter.
I watched The Fault In Our Stars three nights in a row and there wasn’t a single false moment.
That’s quite remarkable.
It’s a great love story and a great film.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul.

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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