I think there needs to be a tissue holder as well as a drinks holder for certain films and Fault in Our Stars is one of those films. I could hear sniffling all around me as people were taken up by the sadness and emotion of the film, which is an experience I have never come by before. The majority of the audience were female although there was the odd male partner sitting there no doubt trying to keep their testosterone in check. The film is sad, but it is also very positive in many ways!
We have all been affected by cancer, maybe we haven’t had the illness ourselves but no doubt know someone close who has it or had it. If you are in a room of three people one of you is likely to have it at some point in your lives and that is pretty scary despite the medical advances today, which have made many cancers treatable. I think seeing anyone with a horrible disease is difficult, but seeing those that have only just started out in life suffer is really hard. They are so often very brave, wearing a smile even if it is only to protect those around them. Fault in Our Stars is about three young people living and dealing with cancer. It shows how it has affected their lives as they strive to live like a normal teenager and prepare for what could be their final moments. The main focus is on Hazel and Gus who are brought together through a support group. They deal with their illness in different ways, one, Hazel is pragmatic and knows the inevitable will one day sooner or later take her life. She is strong willed and accepting and fears for her parents when she is no longer there. She just wants to carry on a normal life without too much fuss. She does not pity herself, but at the same time she wont carry on as if the cancer isn’t along side her. The treatment she receives has kept her alive far longer than anticipated and it means she can look to a bit further into the future than most.
Gus is the complete opposite and he carries a smile where ever he goes, he is willing to laugh cancer away. This being said he said he wants to grab life with both hands and do everything he can while he can in case cancer does take hold of him again. Where Hazel wears a frown, Gus has a permanent smile. He is Mr Popular, the life and soul and doesn’t look any different from any other teenage boy. Hazel has tubes running from her nose and has to carry an oxygen tank where as Gus can hide his loss beneath his trousers. He only has one leg due to cancer, but this doesn’t stop him from living a full life, that is until it comes to girls and girls are pretty important to a teenage boy. Not many girls that age will want him with only one leg which he confides only with Hazel. He steps into the virgin circle without shame although the surprise on Hazels face is clear. Gus doesn’t feel the need to keep his feelings and emotions in check and shows his love for Hazel early on and continues to do so despite being pushed away. Hazel is guarded as she does not want to hurt this lovable boy because one day he may have to cope with losing her. The contrast in characters is perfect and makes it feel far more real and far less fairytale. This is true life with all its bumps in the road and goes along way to develop each character in how they are feeling.
There are still dreams however, this brought about through the love of one book detailing the life of one girls life and death. The dream is to meet the author who has isolated himself from the world due to his loss. Gus is determined to forfill Hazels dream and actively pursues the author until he gets what he wants. It doesn’t quite go to plan, but the memory is one they will never forget and it turns out to be three of the happiest days of their life. There are some twists and turns along the way and many lines of wisdom, but to see the fight these young people have is inspiring.
The friend of Gus’ also plays an important role as he loses his sight through cancer as well as the beautiful girl who is not quite as beautiful inside. He has to accept that some people are shallow and cant deal with his blindness as well as he can. His emotions are up and down, but he always has Gus to help him along the way. Revenge is a dish served best with eggs we soon learn in a particular fun scene where all three take on the shallow people of the world. They support eachother through thick and thin and can all relate to one anthers struggles even if they deal with them in different ways.
I really enjoyed this film and the performances from the young cast were brilliant. I think they will be stars of the future particularly Shailene Woodley who has already raced to the top with her performance in Divergent, which of course has a follow up film to come. Ansel Elgort who plays Tris’ brother in divergent (I hope this doesn’t freak you out) is brilliant as Gus and is able to portray the full range of emotions as they all struggle with cancer. They really look good as a couple and have great chemistry. It is really important to do the characters good service when the topic is so sensitive and when so many are affected by it. The fact that so many in the audience were crying shows you how powerful the performances were. You also felt inspired leaving the cinema and there were many moments where you could laugh out loud. I said before this is a positive film and you will leave the screen feeling that way. You feel sad for these young people, but you do not pity or feel sorry for them as they make the most of their lives.
The cast is fairly small, but we also see the affect on the parents, main;y from Hazels mums point of view who encourages her daughter to reach out and make the most of her life. They too have to struggle with the fact that one day their daughter may not be there any more. They make plans for this and no matter what they will always be her parents.