Editors’ Review: The Fault In Our Stars: Faulty? Or Flawless?

The Editors of the Dial have reviewed The Fault in Our Stars. The Fault in Our Stars is narrated by Hazel Grace Lancaster, a teenager who is coping with terminal thyroid cancer, but kept alive by a miracle drug. Her mother urges her to go to a cancer support group. At first, she isn’t thrilled by the idea, but then, she meets Augustus Waters and her life is changed forever. The Fault in Our Stars tells a story of life, love, and finding yourself within others.

Jillian: 4 ½ Stars:

John Green’s popular book, The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS) has been turned into the blockbuster that starts off the summer. I, myself enjoyed the movie and rated the it 4 and a half out of five stars.

For one thing, Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley, popularly known on screen this year as Caleb and Tris prior in Divergent, respectfully, played Augustus and Hazel. While people argue that Ansel isn’t “handsome” enough or doesn’t have the “Augustus Waters appearance”, Ansel made up for it with his spot on “Augustus” personality. And though I disagree with the claims that he wasn’t handsome enough to be Augustus, the book takes place through Hazel’s eyes, and people often refer to the love of their life as the most handsome or beautiful being in the world. So really, he had to be just beautiful enough for Shailene’s Hazel. And Shailene did not disappoint either, while she was not what I personally pictured as Hazel; she played our favorite intelligent sixteen-year-old college student perfectly. We also cannot forget Nat Wolff’s Isaac. Wolff played our favorite sarcastic, blind, cancer survive perfectly, especially in the night of the broken trophies. Their emotions never wavered into anything less than perfect. So they weren’t our ideal actors or the perfect people we had in mind, but they were amazing nonetheless through their acting, with a metaphorical Ansel, a genius Shailene who holds her temper and a funny, sarcastic Nat who can admittedly throw a great egg without seeing.

What pleased me the most was that TFIOS followed the book smoothly and was as relevant to the events surrounding Augustus and Hazel. Despite the producers leaving out or changing a few things, such as the pre funeral, which was not held in the basement like it was in the book, the closed casket that was open in the book, Hazel looking up Gus’s old ex-girlfriend, and the V for Vendetta movie that Augustus originally asked Hazel to come watch with him, they did leave in a lot of more important aspects. They left the Anne Frank House, along with it their first kiss, where even the theater was clapping for the couple on screen, Gus asking Hazel to go buy eggs and egging Monica’s house (though what he says to his mother is not from the book), and Hazel insulting and calling Van Houten out. While I wish they left the open casket, and had Hazel go up to the casket without her nasal cannula like in the book, we can’t have everything, and I would rather have the scene where Hazel visits Isaac in the hospital than to take it out for an open casket.

The most contradictory topic about the movie however is if it makes you cry. Now if you’re a guy, I can’t really say if you will bawl your eyes out, but I for one definitely cried a few times non stop. While some people will say that they cried really hard or didn’t cry at all, it depends on the person. Some people are moved through different intensities of sadness. But, you can definitely expect that if you don’t cry, the people in the theater around you will. Overall, TFIOS while an excellent book was a great, emotional movie.

Maria: 3 ½ Stars: 

The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS) was one of the most anticipated movies of the year, however now that it was finally released, the real question is whether or not it was everything it was anticipated to be. After watching the movie, I am going to say no, it was not. Therefore, I’ll be giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Hazel Grace Lancaster, the main character in the book and the movie, was played beautifully by Shailene Woodley. Personally, I am not a great fan of Shailene Woodley as an actress, but her portrayal of Hazel was definitely amazing. And Ansel Elgort plays Augustus Waters, the character that everyone fell in love with when reading the book. Before the movie was released, many were put off by Ansel Elgort playing the role of the Augustus Waters, saying he just wasn’t Augustus Waters, and I must admit, I was skeptical too. He did not fit my image of Augustus Waters. However, after watching the movie, I will say he did an adequate job. Though at times, he did make things sound slightly cheesy. But when it comes to the actors and actresses in the movie, there was one actor who stole the show. And that was Nat Wolff. His acting blew Shailene’s and Ansel’s out of the water. I became more attached to Isaac, Augustus’ best friend who lost his eyesight to cancer, than I did to Augustus himself or Hazel. His portrayal of Isaac was simply incredible, and I wished there was more of him in the movie, than of anyone else, which is slightly disappointing, since I originally went in wanting to see Hazel and Augustus.

As I was watching the movie, there were many times I felt there was enough emotion, but not enough build-up to bring the emotion out. For example, I felt that Hazel and Augustus’ relationship was very half-done. They did not build it up enough, that when the very emotional scenes came, I was very numb to them, and I wanted to feel something, but I just couldn’t because there was nothing to base it off. When it comes to movies with teenage romance, there has to be something that shows that they both cared very much about each other. However, even though they took very big steps toward their relationship, there was just something missing. I felt more emotion during Isaac’s breakdown with the trophies than I did when Augustus finally revealed something very heartbreaking to Hazel later. There were some parts where I was just very, very bored. So bored, that I would just focus on the extras in the film, than what was really going on. One thing I will say though, is that the cinematography was very new and refreshing. I loved the way they featured text messages and emails on the screen but with some flair and without being tacky. But overall, the story was very dry. As I said before, it lacked build-up, and sometimes the way things were sequenced was just off.

However, the big question for all TFIOS fans, and even those who are new and just want to watch it for fun, is whether or not this movie was a tear-jerker that it was made up to be. I will admit that I did shed tears when watching this movie, however that is only because of past experiences I’ve had with those who have cancer. But other than that, the movie was very dry, and unless you are a very emotional person, you will most likely not cry, and as a fan, and a friend of many fans, that is a huge letdown. My advice is to just stick to the books, because the movie will not add anything to your experience with The Fault in Our Stars. If you recently found out about The Fault in Our Stars, I would just skip the movie and just read the book. It’ll definitely be more worthwhile.

Bella: 3 stars:

I did not shed a single tear. Call me a cold hearted monster woman (and believe me, I have been called a cold hearted monster woman over this) but this movie did not tug a single heartstring. I’ve read this novel three times, and emotion was not dulled by recurrent perusal; each time I read, I either cried or threw the book against the wall. Or both. The movie adaption inspired no such reaction. I was rather disappointed- I was entirely prepped for tears. I had tissues and everything; I was rather disappointed with the lack of waterworks going on in my corner of the theater

Tears (or lack thereof) aside, I have several bones to pick with these Hollywood casting directors. As previously mentioned by my co-editors, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort graced the big screen earlier this year in the blockbuster book to movie rendition of Divergent. This alone I have no problem with; kudos to the young stars for landing such prominent roles in such promising productions. However. I really need to have a long talk with the casting directors that took the initiative to make the sweet brother and sister duo of one movie (Divergent) the star-crossed lovers of another. I did not appreciate this in the slightest- it left a bitter taste in my mouth, a taste tinged with slight overtones of incest.

I won’t dote on my grievances over casting too excessively, (I’ll admit, I’m not a terrible fan of Ansel as Augustus- his face was just so wrong) however, I must explain where I found the most fault. True to the book, quickly after meeting Augustus, we hear the bold, blatantly flirtatious statement, “I enjoy looking at beautiful people.” In typical Hollywood fashion, directors visibly internalized this and pasted it over every crevice of the production. Even through the midst of aggressive cancer treatments and death, our hero and heroine remain as flawless as ever- their bright, young complexions never fade or falter to provide us something beautiful to look at, blurring the pain that is truly meant to be felt. Only in one scene is the reality of such illness preserved, not glazed over for beauty’s sake- we see Gus at the gas station, vulnerable and incredibly ill, vomiting blood and bile with tears streaking down his face. This is the one scene that does not lie incongruent with Hazel’s initial claim of absolute truth-telling- the rest of the movie lies within the safe, beautiful boundaries of Hollywood-approved pain. Of course, we received what we came to see- fiction. However, when a work of fiction makes such claims of truth being expressed, should they not go beyond the typical façade of typical Hollywood whitewashing?

Minor rants and disappointment aside, I found that, the movie was beautifully made. The detail put into the set was astounding- one could spend hours poring over the minutiae from the novel that found its way into Hazel’s room, Augustus’s basement, or any other scene in the movie. The talent of our young stars was spectacular as well- I am not a fan as Ansel as Augustus, but I am quick to admit that the emotion he puts into the part is hardly an easy feat of any kind. Several key components of the novel were absent from the film, however, the movie flowed quite well- it did the novel justice through keeping to the general storyline with accuracy.
Although I have numerous complaints about the movie, I am not entirely bitter, to be clear; I was certainly entertained while watching it. However, I found this rendition of the book to be emotionally lacking- it simply missed an entire dimension that was entirely present in the novel. I would not recommend it nearly as wholeheartedly as I would recommend the book.

Photo courtesy of Temple Hill Entertainment