Being sixteen years old isn’t easy. Even worse, being 16 and dying of cancer. But Hazel Grace Lancaster is making it work. She’s not scared of dying; she’s scared of getting too close to people, and what they’re going to do, how they’re going to live without her. She feels like a grenade, which makes it particularly difficult for her to become close to anyone. But then she meets Augustus Waters in a support group for teens with cancer, and suddenly everything changes.
Augustus, who’s in remission, sweeps her off her feet. The two bond over Hazel’s favorite book, and Augustus manages to get in touch with the author of the novel, in the hopes he’ll help Hazel learn what happens to the characters after the book ends. Augustus uses his “Make a Wish”-style wish on Hazel to give her the dream trip of her expectedly short life.
The beauty of the novel The Fault In Our Stars is that it’s a YA novel that brought teens back to reality, after years of popular young adult fiction novels revolving around vampires, wizards, deadly games, and dystopian universes. The Fault In Our Stars tells a realistic story, and though the end is viciously sad, it’s also uplifting and hopeful, emphasizing the importance of making your days count, even if you have very few.
The movie The Fault In Our Stars manages to mimic this sad, but hopeful feeling from the end of the book, and does a great job of accurately bringing the book to life. Of course, certain scenes are cut: Augustus and Hazel writing an ad to sell her childhood swing set (in the movie, the swing set is there in the beginning, and oddly, mysteriously missing from the backyard landscape at the end); Hazel shopping with one of her girlfriends at the mall; Augustus’s family; the fact that Gus has an ex-girlfriend that Hazel stalks a little bit. But none of these scenes are particularly crucial to the plot. While they may have helped to add depth to the character, they weren’t necessary and I didn’t feel as though the movie were really missing anything.
In all honesty, the most important aspects of this story are the characters and their chemistry between Hazel and Gus; luckily actress Shailene Woodley and actor Ansel Elgort play the characters wonderfully onscreen. Shailene Woodley isn’t just believable as Hazel; she is Hazel. She’s sarcastic and funny and cynical. And it’s hard to imagine any young male actor being as ridiculously charming and swoon-worthy as Ansel Elgort. Their chemistry is undeniable, making the story that much more lovable and that much more heartbreaking. If possible, I may have loved the movie as much as I loved the novel.