Although my mom is a survivor of breast cancer, I was away at sleep away camp though her worst cycles of chemo so I have a slightly warped view of her struggles. In the last couple years I dove into several novels, plays and movies involving cancer patients and survivors trying to get an idea of what she went through. A standout for me from the moment I picked it up is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. The movie was released this past June and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber stayed extremely close to the novel’s plot line as well as overall tone.
Set in Indianapolis The Fault in Our Stars is both a heart warming and wrenching story about a sardonic, quick witted teenager names Hazel Grace Lancaster, played by Shailene Woodley (Divergent, The Secret Life of the American Teenager). Hazel has been suffering from terminal thyroid cancer that has metastasized to her lungs. Her mother fears she is becoming depressed and urges her to go to support group. Although reluctant to contribute to the group at first, a statement made by Augustus Waters, played by Ansel Elgort (Divergent, Carrie), who is in remission from a cancerous bone tumor that cost him part of his leg. He says his fear is oblivion, peeks her interest. Hazel's response perfectly illustrates that she has come to terms with the fact that death especially at this stage of her cancer in inevitable. Intrigued by her eloquent response Augustus, known to his friends as Gus begins to fall in love.
Unlike other films featuring characters on the brink of death, The Fault in Our Stars isn’t looking for pity. John Green wanted to show that these young teens are exactly that young teens. The perfect delineation is the cut scenes of Hazel continually looking at her iPhone willing there to be a text message from Augustus the day after they met. A ritual every single girl can relate to. These teens are extremely fun, strong and diverse. Augustus, for the most part, no matter the diagnoses is an upbeat hilarious guy who strives to affect the people around him in a positive way. His friend Isaac, played effortlessly by Nat Wolff (Stuck in Love, The Naked Brothers Band), even after losing both his eyes to cancer is quick to follow up with a sardonic joke.
The love story between Hazel Grace and Augustus is a timeless tale of fate coming in and screwing everything up. The distinct animated characters however make this film a tear-jerking love story that will endure for years to come!
Get the tissues ready! The Fault in Our Stars come to Blu Ray/DVD/Digital Download on Tuesday September 16th.