Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel s story is about to be completely rewritten.
If you’re not aware of The Fault in Our Stars, you’re probably living under a rock. This highly successful book that was published in 2012 became a highly successful movie that was made in 2014. The movie stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, two incredibly talented young actors. My review is going to cover both the book and the movie.
John Green is a great writer. He’s prolific, inventive, and he injects a whimsicality into all his books that always feels genuine. The Fault in Our Stars contains really dark subject matter, but it’s full of heart and the two precocious main characters make you fall in love with them. However, as good as the book was, it didn’t reach me as deeply as the movie did. Before I watched the movie, I thought this was a decent book. It was good, but not great. There are probably legions of John Green fans ready to punch me for saying that, but it’s how I felt. As brilliant and profound as the writing is, I felt like there was a wall between me and the characters of Hazel and Gus. I cared deeply about them, but I could turn off how invested I was in their story. Pehaps it was because the filler (i.e. the book within the book – An Imperial Affliction) tried too hard to be meaningful. In fact, certain parts of this novel were a trudge to read. Perhaps this is a fault of mine and there’s something I’m incapable of connecting with, but the book was just…fine. I didn’t sob or weep while reading it. I may have choked up a few times, but nothing too severe.
And then, the movie came along. Suddenly this mediocre book had this amazing movie associated with it. I know it’s marketed towards the teenage crowd, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. I think it says something about the two young actors and how they managed to transform these characters into two people I felt like I’d known forever. There was no wall and I was completely invested in their romance. I didn’t have a chance.
A lot of the script is thankfully taken straight from the novel, so we get the brilliant writing along with the dynamic performances. Their chemistry is undeniable and their affection for each other was so genuine. It isn’t something they could fake and it speaks to how talented Woodley and Elgort are. They completely committed to their roles and I felt their struggle like it was my own. I ended up being a weeping, sobbing mess, and yet, couldn’t stop watching.
There are very few instances when I say this, but the movie is better than the book. If you want to skip reading the novel, I completely understand. Just please try and watch this movie…alone…because you will be sobbing by the end of it.