When I read The Fault in Our Stars last year, I really loved it. I did have some issues with the story, but overall, I still enjoyed it. While I was excited to see the movie, I wasn’t as excited as I was with other adaptions. This is the first John Green book that I’ve read, and I was a bit put off about casting two of the stars from Divergent (which was only released a few months ago) as the leads in this movie. So my excitement wasn't as high as others. But, after I saw all of the great reviews, I decided to go see the film adaptation.
I’m glad that I did.
I actually ended up loving the movie more than the book. This isn’t to say that the film doesn’t have its flaws (much like the book). It does. But I still loved it.
What I liked about the movie:
- This was Shailene’s movie. This is something a lot of reviews from critics have already pointed out, but I feel the need to mention this again. Without her performance as Hazel, I’m not sure I would’ve enjoyed the movie as much. It still surprises me just how good she is since I was first introduced to her from that ABC Family show (in her defense, the acting in general was bad on that show). Woodley carries this entire movie, and it’s safe to say that, after this and The Spectacular Now, I will gladly watch anything she’s in.
- The adaption managed to capture the book perfectly. If you loved the book, you’ll like the movie. If you hated the book? Well, this is a rather faithful adaptation… so you probably won’t enjoy the movie.
- Ansel nailed the gas station scene. I wasn’t entirely sold on Ansel as Gus after seeing him in Divergent, but he was pretty good in this movie. There are moments where Shailene outshines him, but the scene at the gas station? Ansel was fantastic. (He was also very good during the eulogy scene.)
- How they handled Gus’ death. I actually think the movie was more depressing than the novel. There were tears at the end. I didn’t break out in sobs, but it’s hard to watch the second half of the movie. It definitely has more impact on screen than it does in the book, that’s for sure. But this could also be because of Shai. The eulogy scene, when she gets up to the podium? It’s hard to ignore the emotion she manages to capture in that scene.
What I didn’t like about the movie:
- I’m probably going to get yelled at for this, but I wasn’t entirely crazy about some of dialogue from the book – mainly some of the things that Gus said. He just came off as too perfect, and well, movie Gus was just as perfect.
- I think the one scene that really just seemed odd to me in the book was where the people applauded Hazel and Gus kissing at the Anne Frank House, so seeing that on the big screen? Yeah, I just couldn’t get behind that scene. Had they cut the clapping bit out, it would’ve been fine. It just seemed strange.
- The way the movie was shot. This was my biggest issue. I know the budget on this adaption was only $12 million, which is nothing when you compare it to other adaptions, but man, there were times where it just felt like a Lifetime movie. One review I read stated that there really weren’t any memorable shots, and I’d have to agree with that. The shots were too wide, or far too close. Certain scenes felt like they were meant for the small screen.
I know I listed multiple problems I had with the movie, but I really did love it.
If you hated the book, you are not going to like the movie. I can guarantee you as much. It is quite possibly the most faithful adaption I’ve seen in recent years, so yeah. If you hated the book, this isn’t the movie for you. But if you loved the book? You’re going to love the movie.