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Friday, April 19, 2024

For Your Entertainment: The Fault in Our Stars breaks all the rules

All the great literary love stories involve a certain amount of pain. And pain demands to be felt.

That’s the philosophy that has made John Green’s young adult novel about teenagers with cancer, The Fault in Our Stars, into one of the most highly anticipated film adaptations of the decade. 

TFIOS refused to conform. The young adult genre tends to elevate the existence of teenagers either through futuristic battles, vampires or Upper Eastside prep schools. A love story about two teenagers, Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus (Ansel Elgort), with cancer in Indianapolis almost seems a little too real for comfort.

Any other movie or novel about children with cancer will portray the protagonist as a brave and hopeful soul. TFIOS recognizes there is beauty in feeling everything- anger, depression, love, hope and fear.

The film version retains a lot of the book’s original dialogue, which is written beautifully enough to make any 15-year-old girl cry. Trust me, there will be lots of crying.

Generally young adult books are guilty of creating characters that are representations of ideals with few defining qualities so that any reader can easily identify. TFIOS rebuked traditions yet again and gave us characters that leap off the page and the screen through their quirks, philosophies and passions.

The producers of TFIOS were tasked with capturing the unique spirit of the book and they did a great service to readers by perfectly casting Hazel and Gus.

After the sci-fi film Divergent, Woodley was poised to become the new queen of the YA genre- a title Kristen Stewart scoffed at and Jennifer Lawrence tripped over on her way to the big leagues. But Woodley’s performance as cancer-stricken Hazel turned out to be the surprise role that will make her career.

Elgort does a fantastic job of highlighting what makes Augustus such a distinctive leading man. He’s effortlessly charming, witty, and eloquent. His relentless positivity is a far cry from the typical brooding bad boy.

Teenage girls may not have the best track record with picking new things to obsess over, but they got it right with The Fault in Our Stars.

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