Friday, November 10, 2017

The Fault in Our Stars: Young Love in Tragedy Played with Perfection

Movie Review: The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
Version: Library borrow

Through the coming attractions previews on a couple of older movies, our family ran into some movies we had missed in the past. A seriously great film we picked up at the library is The Fault in Our Stars, the story of two teenagers who meet at a cancer support group, which leads to hanging out more together. What becomes a close friendship based on a shared life-and-death experience leads to a love-lost-to-death relationship, but not in a way you expect as you make your way through the story.

Hazel is undergoing continued cancer treatments with little hope for recovery, Augustus has lost a leg to cancer but is full of enthusiasm for life, always lifting her spirits. She has "wasted" her special wish earlier in life to go to Disney World, so he uses his to take her to Amsterdam to meet their favorite author, where they finally fall helplessly in love. Fouling their experience, they find their author isn't what he purports to be. Finally returning home, everything turns for the worse. But is their hope?

Hazel is played with perfection by Shailene Woodley, sometimes bright and hopeful, sometimes full of despair. Augustus is played with eloquence by Ansel Elgort, philosophical and brave and the supportive partner. Willem Dafoe plays an acerbic and acidic author darkened in his outlook on life by experiences he refuses to share.

This is really a story about star-crossed lovers whose crossing is destined too soon to pass in the night, but it's also about the passionate love of life and the unfairness of conditions beyond your control. It depends almost entirely upon the quality of the lead actors to pull off the story, and they do it with excellence. There is real chemistry between Woodley and Elgort, and thus you feel a passionate connection between Hazel and Augustus, for whom you yearn for a long life together. Yet The Fault in Our Stars is actually a tragedy, and so, like Romeo and Juliet, it is a love story that will not be.

The Fault in Our Stars will always be one of my favorite movies because it's the first time my daughter -- usually an animation and action film fan -- actually asked to see a romance film. Is she growing up a bit? Watching it with her, it was sort of like my first dance with her, seeing the young lady in her blossom just a little. (Don't tell her I said that!)

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