Movie Review: The fault in our stars

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The Plot

A movie adaptation of the book by the same name by John Green, The fault in our stars is a love story, more so, a tragic love story of two cancer patients. The story is narrated by sixteen-year old Hazel, who suffers from lung cancer. She carries around with her a bag containing her oxygen tank all the time.Forced to attend a cancer support group, Hazel one day meets in the group Augustus ‘Gus’ Waters. Gus, who suffered from a bone tumor, but recovered later, walks around with a prosthetic leg. Soon, Gus and Hazel develop a thick bond.

While Gus from the very beginning makes his attraction towards Hazel known and constantly flirts with her, Hazel slowly gives in to his tries. They connect over a book and Gus, with his carefree and living-in-the-moment attitude mails the author of whom Hazel is a huge fan. Things turn exciting when Hazel gets invited to Amsterdam by the author.

But, Hazel falls sick and asks her second Dying Wish which is to go to Amsterdam. Gus too asks for the same wish from his parents, to go with Hazel. The parents do not relent and soon Hazel, Gus and Hazel’s mom fly to Amsterdam. There, in the heart of Amsterdam, their love blooms and Gus confesses to Hazel that his cancer has returned, this time damaging his internal organs. They bravely stand by each other and finish their trip together.

On returning back, things get darker as Gus’ condition begins to deteriorate. He, thus, asks Hazel and his friend Isaac to write eulogies for his funeral. Hazel, while consenting to do so, mentions that she has no friends who would speak at her funeral. The free-spirited Gus soon gives in to his ailing body and becomes scared and sad. Hazel finds this personality change the most disturbing. At his funeral, Hazel gives an impromptu speech. While going back, she meets the author they went after to Amsterdam. He gives her something to read, which she doesn’t. But, later through Isaac, she gets to know it was written by Gus. She finds that he had written a eulogy for her funeral, in advance. The story ends with a much alive Hazel, remembering the memories she had with Gus.

The Negatives

The plot, aimed to be moving the viewer, is very emotional if one thinks about it or even reads. However, the movie fails to do so. The actors have done justice to their roles, proving their mettle. But, the story somehow, does not connect with the viewer. There were parts that needed improvement. The instances where the family’s situation was talked about did not have the emotional pull. You know and you can understand, but you cannot see it or feel it. The connection between Hazel and Gus does not seem to be smoothly developed. While Gus is confidently seen hitting on Hazel, Hazel’s feelings are not clear until a very long time

The Neutrals

Amsterdam, on the other hand, improves the viewing experience, as you will see the relationship strengthening. Infact, the visit to author Peter Van Houten is a very engrossing part as Hazel and Gus both show their edgy sides. It is also, where one stops pitying for them and starts viewing them as normal, as neither of them mention or emotionally blackmail Houten with the points of their short-life.

 The Positives

The best part in the whole movie is when Gus begins to deteriorate. It was not supposed to be. Hazel was expected all along to die and one would accept Gus’ lonely life, but the role-reversal takes you by shock. You don’t want it, and yet you find it a change. It is unexpected and for once, you begin to see Gus’ fears. The most tear-filled part is when Hazel gets the news of his demise and when she reads his letter. It is almost painstaking to see her shatter, gather and hold herself up.

The book The Fault in our Stars, as far as I have heard, is a masterpiece. Well, then I think the movie  is nowhere near to it, in comparison. However, I recommend that you watch it for the plot, while the book-readers who will watch it to compare, please do not get your hopes up.

The Official Trailer of The Fault in Our Stars directed by Josh Boone starring Shailene Woodley (as Hazel) and Ansel Elgort (as Gus).

– Ayesha Sareen for DU Beat.

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