Friday, June 13, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars Review

Being perfectly honest, when trailers for The Fault in Our Stars first came out, I wasn't impressed. I hadn't read the book. In fact, I hadn't even heard of the book until after this movie was announced. What it seemed like was a typical, generic chick-flick. Something along the lines of one of those Nicholas Sparks movies like The Notebook, Dear John or Safe Haven. Now I know those movies have their targeted audience, but I am not a part of that audience as these are movies that I'm usually just not interested in. So two weeks before this was released, I was ready to pass over it. Then the reviews came out. Suddenly I had a double-take. The reviews were excellent. This caused me to make the decision to give the movie a shot. Boy I'm glad I did because my pre-judgments about this movie were so off. I wouldn't even call this a chick flick. Sure, the romance story is the main aspect of the movie, but this isn't just a movie about romance. It's a movie about life. And it's one of the most inspirational movies that I've seen in quite some time.

The Fault in Our Stars is based off the book of the same name by John Green, of which I hear is also great. If you are a fan of the book, word is that the movie does do the book justice, so that's good news for you. The title of the book/movie comes from the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar. Here is the quote from the play:

"Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

That there is really beautiful. Basically, we are masters of our own fates. The hand we have been dished may be a hard one, but it's up to us if our life turns out good. There's been many people that have been put in a bad situation that made the best of it and still were happy. Then there's also been many people that have been put in a good situation that didn't make the best of it and turned out miserable. Now I know you aren't reading this review to get your daily sermon. You are reading it to find out how this movie was. But this is exactly the message that this movie teaches, so now you know what you are in for. If you don't want to be inspired and uplifted, then this isn't the movie for you. The story itself is about a teenage girl named Hazel. Hazel has cancer and honestly believes that her days are numbered. Thus she doesn't have a positive outlook at all and instead is super depressed. Against her wishes, she attends a cancer support group where she meets a boy named Gus. Gus is a cancer survivor who is there at the support group with his friend. Gus isn't problem free, especially because he has a mechanical leg, but he does have a very positive outlook and immediately takes interest in Hazel.

I will be honest, the casting was a bit weird at first. Shailene Woodley plays Hazel and Ansel Elgort plays Gus and the whole movie revolves around their romance. Why was this weird? Well, the movie Divergent just came out in March and is thus fairly fresh on my mind. In Diveregent, Woodley and Elgort play brother and sister. So when Gus first made a move on Hazel, part of me was shouting, "NO GUS, SHE IS YOUR SISTER!!! Oh wait a minute. Wrong movie..." Now this is not a criticism of the movie itself. Just a minor problem with my brain. Once I got over it, I was all for those two. Woodley was fantastic as Hazel, which says a lot coming from me. I didn't hate her in Divergent, but I wasn't blown away either and the fact that she might be cast again as Mary Jane in the Amazing Spider-Man series scared me because she was cast in that role before the character was cut out of the recent movie. Her role in The Fault in Our Stars as Hazel gave me hope that if she is recast as Mary Jane (which isn't official -- just a mere possibility), perhaps I can accept it. Ansel Elgort as Gus also was fantastic. In fact, he was the one who made this movie. Shailene Woodley could've been replaced by someone else and the movie would've been just as good, but Ansel Elgort was absolutely perfect. He was funny, he was charming, he was smooth. He just all out did a great job and made the movie what it was.

Sure, the movie could be seen as predictable. Certain things happened at the beginning that made me think certain other things would happen at the end. And I was right. But that's not the point here. The point is the message and the emotional journey you go on. I personally was blown I way. I was inspired. And yes, there were moments in the movie where I was holding back tears, not just because of events that happen in the movie, but because of emotions from my own life that the movie dug up. Last week I described the phenomenon of Edge of Tomorrow to that of Now You See Me from last year -- not in terms of story but of what happened to me when I watched it. This week I am comparing The Fault in Our Stars to last year's About Time in the same manner. Both Now You See Me and About Time ended up in my best movies of 2013 list. We'll see what happens this year. As for now, I will give The Fault in Our Stars a 9/10 and call it my second favorite movie of the summer.

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