The latest Young Adult phenomenon to get the big screen treatment is John Green’s mega best-seller ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. Cue the eye roll. Yes, there is another woeful teen story just in the wings, but alas, there are no vampires here - nor are there any werewolves, witches, dystopian societies, overruling governments, pending anarchy or, dare is say it, love triangles. This is, to put it mildly, just a love story. Of course, like any love story it is epic and extraordinary, played out by the ordinary... but extraordinary to some.
Hazel Grace Lancaster is a 17-year-old who is girl dying of cancer. She doesn’t leave the comforts of her home much, constantly tethered to an oxygen tank, surviving only for her parents. When persuaded by her helicopter mother to attend a support group for young people in the same situation, Hazel meets fellow cancer sufferer Augustus Waters, a charismatic 18-year-old who’s recently lost a leg due to his illness. The pair strike up a reluctant friendship, always acutely aware of the “end game”, but soon discover that they can each find a forever within the numbered days.
Director Josh Boone (‘Stuck In Love’) has created a very loyal adaptation along with screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (‘500 Days of Summer’). Bringing their words and vision to life are young stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, just recently seen portraying brother and sister in ‘Divergent’ - but trust me when I say that they’ve quickly gotten over those roles and are now tugging on our heart-strings as the irresistibly adorable Hazel and Gus.
Newcomer Elgort is a revelation and Woodley continues to prove that her star turn in 2011’s ‘The Descendants’ was no fluke. It’s important to note that these actors are not playing a couple of cancer kids in love, they’re playing two people falling in love who just happen to have cancer. It’s a fine line but one that they master together and help develop the beautiful story and film along the way.
Pre-reading this book will not prepare you for onslaught of tears and emotions continuously coming at you for the full 125 minutes. Prepare thyself.
LADIES: This movie comes with tissue factor of 11.
MEN: Pre-emptive strike: buy your damn girl some chocolate before the end credits roll.