In September of 2012, after hearing tons of rave reviews, I finally decided to pick up The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and see what all the hype was about. I have yet to read a novel since then that even comes close to the hard hitting, emotional roller coaster that was the love story between Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters. From start to end I was hooked on every word, line and page of that book, It completely captivated me. (For a joint review of the novel click here). With that being said it was crucial, for me, that the movie not disappoint. This novel was one that pulled at my heartstrings from the very first page, so I had high expectations for the film adaptation.
I will admit, the first time I found out who would be playing the roles of these beloved characters I was hesitant. I had seen Shaileen on a show on ABC family that went downhill after its first season. I didn't know what to expect from her. When I saw Ansel Elgort would be our Gus all I could think was "Who's Ansel?!" I looked him up and honestly I didn't know what to think. He hadn't been in much at that point and of course I had an image of Gus built up in my mind that I was afraid he wouldn't be able to fill. Isaac was also a character near and dear to my heart and I was never a Naked Brothers Band fan so when Nat Wolff was cast I was even more worried. Despite the fact that John Green continuously reassured the fanbase that he was pleased with the casting and the result of the movie as a whole I still had my doubts.
I saw the movie the night it was officially in theaters, June 6th. It was a 7:30 showing and I had my mom come with me who had also read the book and loved it. We were in a theater full of tweens and teens and I was counting down the time until the movie started and everyone stopped talking. There were tears in my eyes as soon as it started and I don't think my eyes were dry the entire 2 hrs and 6 mins. The actors exceeded my expectations. I don't think I imagined it to be as realistic and strict to the book as it was. This was a book that truly meant a lot to me and watching it all unfold before my eyes made the experience that much more exciting.
I want to thank the actors for their portrayal. The writing of a movie is essential and I was elated that it was just as important to the ones in charge of the script to make it as authentic as possible as it was to me. However the actors are the ones delivering the lines they are given. The actors are the ones that have to prove to their audience that they are the characters they are playing for the 2 hrs that you experience it. In other words Shaileen, Nat and Ansel did not disappoint. They made me laugh at all the right times, they brought me to tears when necessary and they kept a smile on my face throughout the film. Shaileen understood the essence of Hazel. She understood her need to take extra breaths here and there and did an exceptional job bringing that to the audience's attention. She connected with Hazels deep appreciation and worry for her parents. Her portrayal of Hazel's despise for support group, and her love for Augustus was better than I expected. Shai truly understood and connected with the full essence of Hazel's character and I appreciated it immensely. The only thing I wish we had saw ,more of would have been her friendship with Isaac. I believe Isaac's character was shortchanged in the film, understandably of course, and I was fairly disappointed we didn't see more of his character on the big screen.
Ansel brought Augustus down to earth for me. I always saw him as this ideal guy that doesn’t exist. And it’s true, he doesn’t exist. But I think there are guys out there like him. Who think a bit of themselves but only as a defense. Only because they’re hiding their insecurities and fears underneath it all. The gas station scene really opened my eyes to Gus’s character. I had read the book two years ago so I had forgotten this scene existed. But seeing him break down that exterior curtain of cool and collected was breathtaking. I honestly believe he was the perfect Augustus because he truly understood the character. He knew how to draw the line between being the guy who has it all together and the guy who lost his leg to cancer, the guy who's sick. I found it captivating how professionally he was able to alternate between the two sides of Gus. He brought him justice and for that I am grateful.
There were of course parts of the plot absent from the movie and naturally I noticed them, however it didn't take away from the beauty of the story. I would of course encourage you to read the book before seeing the film because the movie will never compare to novel, but seeing the movie will not take away from or lessen the magic the story possesses.
Never forget the essence of your spark!