‘The Fault in Our Stars’ lights up the sky

Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley star in "The Fault in our Stars." (James Bridges/20th Century Fox/MCT)

Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley star in “The Fault in our
Stars.” (James Bridges/20th Century Fox/MCT)

5/5 Pitchforks

Since production of “The Fault in Our Stars” began last summer, fans have been impatiently waiting for its release. The film, based on John Green’s young adult novel, made $48 million in its opening weekend with ravenous audiences. This is not surprising, considering the book has been on the New York Times best-seller list for 132 consecutive weeks.

Historically, movie adaptations of books tend to frustrate readers by shortchanging the heart of the story. TFIOS not only captures the essence of Green’s 2012 novel, but with its perfect casting, it is the best love story to hit theaters since “The Notebook.”

Support for the movie, largely due to the book’s tenacious fan base, put it on a pedestal long before its release. The trailer is the most liked movie trailer in YouTube history and expectations were set high for director Josh Boone (“Stuck in Love”) to deliver an earnest film that showcased the magic in the book’s 313 pages. And he did deliver. TFIOS is brilliantly executed, proving the hype was more than warranted.

Hazel Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus “Gus” Waters (Ansel Elgort) ignite the screen, with Hazel’s calm realism and Gus’s unwavering pursuit of the extraordinary. The film is centered on one-legged Gus and oxygen-tank-carrying Hazel (who meet in cancer support group) as they soldier on with osteosarcoma and thyroid cancer, respectively.

Gus is in remission while Hazel is on borrowed time thanks to a “miracle” in form of clinical trial. Warning Gus that she is a grenade, Hazel is well-aware of her tragic destiny. A gut-wrenching flashback of a close encounter with her imminent death recounts her listening to her mother (Laura Dern) choking on the words, “I’m not going to be a mom anymore,” in one of the many tear-inducing scenes of the film.

Still, Gus, who is on “a roller coaster that only goes up,” sets out to share the ride with Hazel. Cancer takes a backseat to the teenagers’ love for life and each other. With death looming over them, they love passionately and honestly. What makes it so flawless is its close replication of the book. This is partially a direct result of Green’s close involvement and supervision during the filming process.

Where so many other book-to-film adaptations have failed, TFIOS has succeeded in honoring its literary counterpart. Even the music is impeccable. The soundtrack features Ed Sheeran, Birdy and Grouplove. However, it is the award-worthy performances by both Woodley and Elgort that have immediately made this so much more than a romantic comedy.

“The Fault in Our Stars,” is, in fact, faultless.

 

Reach the reporter at jurgiles@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @MrsMathers94