Review: The Fault In Our Stars (2014) Star performances by Woodley and Elgort will satisfy fans of the bestselling book

June 5, 2014


THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (2014) Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Mike Birbiglia. Directed by Josh Boone

Debuting at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, "The Fault In Our Stars" is the fourth novel from author John Green and fans of the book will be content that screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500 Days Of Summer, The Spectacular Now) remain faithful to the novel making only minor changes to the narrative.

Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort who starred together in Divergent have real chemistry together and their youthful energy and natural performances take this beautiful and tragic love story to a convincing and gratifying plateau. Woodley plays Hazel Grace Lancaster, an intelligent sixteen year old teenager from Indiana who was first diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of thirteen. She is a survivor but the thyroid and lung cancer causes her to carry around an oxygen tank and use a breathing tube. Her protective and doting parents played by Laura Dern and True Blood's Sam Trammell seem to be Hazel's only companions so at the advice of her doctors she starts to attend a teen cancer support group where she meets eighteen year old Augustus "Gus" Waters (Ansel Elgort), a cancer survivor who lost his leg to the disease. His optimistic outlook on life, warm smile, and confident if not cocky attitude is at first annoying to Hazel Grace but she very quickly becomes a victim of his charm and the two embark on a beautiful yet tragic journey filled with romance and adventure, as Hazel states at the beginning of the film, "The truth behind this sad story cannot be sugar-coated" and for every good day there seems to be a bad one just around the corner.

The supporting cast in the film is really good especially Willem Dafoe as reclusive author Peter van Houten, whose book An Imperial Affliction plays a significant role in the story, and Nat Wolff as Gus' best friend Isaac who is losing his vision to the disease. Isaac peppers the movie with funny one-liners and one of the best lighthearted moments in the film involves Gus and Hazel helping Isaac get revenge on an ex by egging her car.

Although the film deals with the subject of Cancer, you won't see the clich├ęd self-pity theme surface as director Josh Boone carries over book's tone of these two vibrant and pragmatic individuals brought to life by strong performances from Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. Tears will be flowing in theaters around the country this weekend for sure, but when the credits roll you won't be left with a sense of depression but rather a reminder that life is short and precious so be thankful and embrace it.

(4 stars)