FAULT IN OUR STARS, THE
Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort) are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that Hazel's other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.
Review by Louise Keller:
A myriad of colours and textures are examined through a multi-faceted kaleidoscope in this teenage love story in which truths about bottled up stars, puddles of tears and things that don't happen as they should, play out in a heart-wrenching journey. Within the subject matter of mortality, love and loss comes a touching tale about first love complete with equal portions of joy and angst and elevated by two stunning performances by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. Based on John Green's novel, director Josh Boone has crafted an affecting tear-jerker filled with emotional highs and lows, reminding us that pain demands to be felt.
When Hazel Grace Lancaster (Woodley) meets Augustus Waters (Elgort) at a cancer support group, he wants to know her real story - not just her cancer story. He believes in metaphors and fears oblivion; she embraces destiny. So begins their special relationship in which they tread on the stepping stones of life together, sharing their dreams and innermost thoughts. The beauty of the film comes from the connection between them as they laugh and cry together, all the while trying to deal with the reality of a finite future.
Woodley has already shown her credentials in The Descendents and Divergent; the big surprise is Elgort (he played Caleb in Divergent), who is like a big puppy dog, bounding with love, hope and energy. Together they make an endearing couple, discovering their common goals, their 'always' word and the intimacy that reinforces that love is 'a shout into the void'.
Nat Wolff is excellent as Isaac, an offbeat friend from the support group, who deals with his eye problems in an amusing way and Lotte Verbeek is lovely as the compassionate Lidewij. On the negative, I was thoroughly irritated however by Laura Dern's performance as Hazel's caring mother: her clawing nature was simply too much. Sam Trammell as Hazel's father is more credible but I would have liked to have seen two actors with more gravitas to have inhabited these important supporting roles.
Highlight is the Amsterdam trip sequence in which Hazel and Gus meet Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe, nicely cast), the controversial author whose book has long been an inspiration to Hazel. The trip is filled with surprises and the romantic dinner for two in which there are many firsts is the stuff of which fairy tales are made.
Boone handles the subject matter with great delicacy, although the drawn out nature of the narrative is perhaps the film's greatest flaw.
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FAULT IN OUR STARS, THE (M)
CAST: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe, Not Wolff, Laura Dern, Lotte Verbeek, Sam Trammell, Emily Peachey, Mike Birbiglia
PRODUCER: Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey
DIRECTOR: Josh Boone
SCRIPT: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber (novel by John Green)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ben Richardson
EDITOR: Robb Sullivan
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Molly Hughes
RUNNING TIME: 126 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 5, 2014