The Fault In Our Stars - Esther Day is coming
As we get ready for 'Esther Day' on 3 August, Bernadette, one of the members of FACT's Freehand Film Club, reviews 'the most anticipated film of the summer'.
22 July 2014
An adaptation of the extremely popular teen novel of the same name, The Fault in Our Stars is a movie about two teenagers who have cancer, Hazel Grace and Augustus and their love story.
The movie, like the book, is narrated by the clever and thoughtful Hazel Grace Lancaster, played by Shailene Woodley (who also starred in Divergent and the TV series The Secret Life of the American Teenager). Hazel Grace finds out she has thyroid cancer when she is thirteen. By the time Hazel is 16, her mom (played by Laura Dern, best known for Jurassic Park and Blue Velvet) sends her to a cancer support group. Begrudgingly, she goes to the support group, where she meets Augustus Waters. Augustus is a charismatic and somewhat pompous boy who has a way with words, played by Ansel Elgort (who also starred in Divergent). We find out that Augustus has bone cancer and an amputated leg. In support group Hazel also meets Isaac, who suffers from eye cancer (played by Nat Wolff).
After meeting Hazel Grace, Augustus invites her to his house to watch a movie. There they discuss their favourite books and share their life stories and their cancer stories. Hazel Grace recommends that Augustus read her favourite book, An Imperial Affliction. After they hang out for the first time, their deep bond grows quickly. They become close friends who later fall in love with each other and are there for one another through thick and thin. Hazel, Augustus, and Isaac stick together through their highs and lows.
The Fault in Our Stars is most definitely a tear jerker. During the saddest of scenes, loud sobs from my fellow movie goers could be heard throughout the theatre. After the movie, everyone in the toilet was fixing their running makeup! The sad scenes were heartbreaking but the happy scenes were almost as tear-inducing as the sad ones! The duality of happy and sad in this movie echo real life, making the viewer empathise with the story and the characters. As well as sad moments, there are loads of triumphs, laughs, and smiles. However, the happiness in this movie was occasionally tinged with sadness due to the 'star-crossed' nature of Hazel and Augustus’ love.
The characters in The Fault in Our Stars discuss the philosophical side of life while dealing with their illnesses. Hazel is worried about her family and the people around her; and the impact that it will make on them when she’s gone. Augustus worries about 'oblivion' and 'the void' and whether or not he will be remembered. To an extent, these are things that all humans think of and worry about, and The Fault in Our Stars conveys the universal fears that everyone has through the journeys of Hazel and Augustus. Not all audience members are going through the same experience as Hazel and Augustus, but the audience still relates to the characters because they have the same feelings, fears, flaws, and thoughts as we do.
There’s always one question that always comes to mind when a novel is adapted into a movie - Is it as good as the book? For The Fault in Our Stars, the answer is yes. The translation of the characters from page to screen is one of the best qualities of the movie. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort are the perfect Hazel and Augustus. Their on-screen friendship/ relationship is just as magnetic, radiant, and real as you imagined while reading the book. All of the young actors in this movie are exceptional which makes the audience grow all the more attached to the characters. The strong acting of Shailene and Ansel provides for a natural emotional progression throughout the movie; which is necessary for a movie with the heavy plot that The Fault in Our Stars has. All this being said, I would still suggest you read the book before you see the movie because you’ll enjoy the movie even more!
Like many commercial, shiny blockbusters, The Fault In Our Stars doesn’t push the boundaries of filmmaking. In terms of direction or cinematography, there was nothing unique or wildly innovative about the style in which this movie was shot. It didn’t take any cinematic risks or try to push the envelope, but that’s to be expected of a widely-distributed movie like this one. The soundtrack to The Fault in Our Stars features chart-toppers like Ed Sheeran and Charli XCX, but music is used lightly in the movie. In this case, the middle-of-the-road type of filmmaking used in The Fault in Our Stars isn’t a bad thing. The style of this movie is simple without being boring and it allows for a wide audience; as well as keeping the focus of the movie on the story and the characters rather than on elaborate or experimental film-making techniques.
The Fault in Our Stars is a movie that I would recommend for anyone. Whether or not you’ve read the book, you’ll love the movie. With its heart-wrenching story and lovable characters, The Fault in Our Stars is more than just 'okay'."
August 3 is known as Esther Day, a celebration started to remember Esther Earl, the inspiration behind John Green's The Fault in our Stars. Esther was a 16 year old girl living with Thyroid Cancer, who passed away in 2010.
For this day in 2014, we'll be doing a screening of The Fault in our Stars here at Picturehouse at FACT, with copies of John Green's book and Waterstones gift cards to give away.
We will be donating a portion of the ticket sales for this event to Alder Hey Children's Hospital.
If you would like to know more about Freehand or any of FACT's young people's programme, please contact