Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Fault In Our Stars: Film Review

I am going to put a SPOILER ALERT here because I just feel as though I can't talk about the film without revealing details so please if you haven't read it or watched the film, first off- where have you been these last few years! Secondly, don't read any further.

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
I am a huge fan of John Green, I follow him as a part of the Vlogbrothers and I am slowly making my way through his books, I have TFIOS and Looking for Alaska down so far and I am going to move onto Paper Towns soon. I thought the book of TFIOS was absolutely amazing, it had be sobbing for about half of it and it left me weirdly uplifted but also a bit empty. It was a touching and sensitive take on teens living with cancer, it wasn't all doom and gloom but rather it highlighted their desire to live and experience things despite their illness, John made characters that were flawed rather than simply ill, the cancer didn't define them and I think that was why it was such a beautiful book. It's safe to say that I was pretty damn excited to find out that it was being made into a film.

First off I would like to talk about casting, I had not heard of Shailene Woodley nor Ansel Elgort before hearing they were to play Hazel and Gus, of course I then went onto see them in Divergent but other than that they were new to me. This was perfect because I had no preconceived view of how they should act, to me they were Hazel and Gus. They capture the tone and personalities of the characters and when I look at them I do see 16 year old teens struggling through life- it is a long way from the 'teens' of Gossip Girl and 90210- they are realistic and relatable. Ansel plays the charming, slightly cocky and pretentious Gus perfectly, and dear lord when Gus starts to get ill again I felt that Ansel was able to show the vulnerability and sensitivity that was so important to Gus' character. In the book it says...

'According to the conventions of the genre, Augustus Waters kept his sense of humor till the end, did not for a moment waiver in his courage, and his spirit soared like an indomitable eagle until the world itself could not contain his joyous soul. But this was the truth, a pitiful boy who desperately wanted not to be pitiful, screaming and crying, poisoned by an infected G-tube that kept him alive, but not alive enough.'

...I felt this was captured beautifully in the film, as a cancer story it would have been too easy to let him die peacefully and beautifully and to give the film a Hollywood spin, a complete contrast to the realities of dying, but instead we saw him get weak and  lose control, we saw him get scared and fall apart. John Green created a flawed character and it transferred well to the film. 

Then there was Hazel, Shailene has a beautifully husky voice and she spoke Hazels words so well. I liked that she was dressed down and had minimal make up. The character of Hazel was kept realistic rather than glamourised. I believed every word Hazel said and when Gus died oh did I cry with her. My favorite scenes with her were the eulogy scene where it would have been so easy for her to the whole 'you are not dying' thing that always seems to happen in books/films when a character is dying. Hazels understanding of Gus' circumstance made the story so real, it would have been easy for her to go into denial. 

The character of Isaac was also done brilliantly, he was funny and witty but also strong and scared. He was everything a teenager should be. The scene where they egged the car was brilliant, I did however feel as though in the translation to film some of his character was lost. In the book I loved the scene when Isaac and Hazel were playing the video game, I know that in the film it wouldn't have been a vital plot component and obviously it was not necessary but I did feel that Isaac could have been a bit more present.

Also, I was slightly annoyed that there was no mention of Gus' previous girlfriend, I felt in the book it enriched his character and explained some of his actions. although again, when you are cutting a book into a 2 hour or so film then there are obviously aspects that won't make it. 

I was a bit worried going into the film that the metaphors when spoken would make me wriggle in my seat but actually I felt they worked very well. With the cigarette metaphor there was so much potential for it to be awkward and embarrassing but Ansel spoke it so well and I think that was down to him throwing himself so wholeheartedly into the character of Gus. 

So all in all it was an amazing film, often book to film adaptations are disappointing, but this certainly wasn't. It has an amazing cast and a brilliant soundtrack and it stays very true to the book. But, just as a warning, take tissues- I spent half of the film trying to control my breathing so I didn't break out into full on sobs! 

Let me know in the comments what you think of the film and whether it lived up to your expectations.

Eilidh




No comments:

Post a comment