Owning Stock in the Tissue Companies: Review of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’

Full disclosure: The first time I saw this poster, it took me like 30 seconds to figure out which one was the dude.

Full disclosure: The first time I saw this poster, it took me like 30 seconds to figure out which one was the dude.

Rated PG-13, 136 minutes (watched 6/5/14)

The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS if you’re cool) is exactly what it intends to be. It’s funny, youthful, sweet, weepy, brutal, transparent and – as the poster’s tag suggests – one sick love story.

It’s also the kind of movie that you will not be seeing unless you’ve read the book it’s based on or are a fan of its author John Green, so I won’t deal with any of the plot. Instead, let’s evaluate the cast.

Hazel – Shailene Woodley is a much better actress here than she was in Divergent. She does this very endearing thing with her voice that really sells her character. I will be shocked if Hazel does not appear on the top 10 lists of baby names next year. If Woodley keeps getting decent roles, she’s got a bright bright future. Also, her name is very hard for me to spell. A+

Gus – Ansel Elgort is also a Divergent alum, and like Shailene he’s given a much better role this time around and comes across a much better actor. John Green clearly intended Gus to be an answer to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope and Elgort succeeds in bringing that Gus to life. There are times I wanted to shout “No teenaged boy would ever talk like that!” but that’s more or less the point. I think. Ansel still comes across a little dopey to me. The 150 or so young girls that attended the pre-midnight premier event alongside Megan and I would beg to differ, judging by the shrieks as he would appear on screen. I counted three other males, and I was the oldest person there by a long shot. B

Isaac – Nat Wolff is supposedly the next big thing. He was fine here. He played the piano in the after-movie live streaming  Q&A session and was immensely bored. C+ overall, C- as a musician.

Van Houten – I don’t normally like Willem Defoe at all, but here he’s a very good choice. A

This is one of the most faithful book-to-movie adaptations I’ve ever seen. Given that it’s a good book, this was a wise decision. Plus, John Green has been very outspoken of his love for what they’ve done with his book despite not getting any marketing fee or cut of the film’s proceeds beyond the rights he sold years ago. That’s the best possible review.

tfios tix

All that’s wonderful, but what’s the movie’s grade? I’m in a hurry here, buddy.
I enjoyed the strong writing of the book, and I enjoyed the strong filmmaking of its adaptation. 4.5/5.

Where do I know that guy from?
Well, Laura Dern isn’t a guy, but you might know her as Dr. Ellie Sadler in Jurassic Park.

What is the star’s spirit animal?

Shailene Woodley made a point to mention bees in the after-film Q&A, so I’m going to go with a bee.

What color socks are you wearing right now?

Spoiler alert!

Megan’s Take:
4/5. She said it was hard to find many flaws. It was very faithful to the book, but she didn’t cry like she expected to. This shocked me, btw.

Heard any good jokes lately?
What do a duck and bicycle have in common?
They both have handlebars, except for the duck.

Snacks eaten:

Unrelated Word of the Day:
Blandish BLAN-dishverb 1. : to coax or persuade with flattery : cajole 2: to act or speak in a flattering or coaxing manner

Would the movie have been any better with the addition of Morgan Freeman as narrator?
Nope. Hazel does a great job.


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