Review//The Fault in Our Stars

My copy of the stupid (good) book. Also, I made that pillow from scratch- you like?


That's my review. Done. Dusted. See you later.

Nah, I'm kidding. This is like the mother of all my film reviews, sorry about that. It also includes references to a few key scenes (nothing really in detail, don't you worry) but if you want to totally avoid spoilers of any kind (my question to you would be, seriously, how have you done it?!) but you might wanna skip this one and come back to it once you read the book and/or since the film.

I absolutely loved the book by John Green so when I heard it was being made into a film you can imagine how excited I was. As it came closer to actually coming out I realised how... painful it would be. It actually got to the point where I would turn the telly off whenever the trailer came on because the memories of the book all flooded back and it was ugh. Buuut Lizzie called me up and we decided to go together and I thought, hey, how bad can it really be? (Read: Bad. With a capital B. The capital B standing for heartBREAKING)

I thought that Kate made a really good point in her review (find it here) about how pretentious and somewhat unlikeable Augustus actually is as a character. I have to admit that I do agree to an extent. When I was reading the book I found him unrealistic because of all his grand statements that I just really wouldn't be impressed by in a situation outside of a book. (Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love writing that makes you think and is rich in imagery, I would love to write like that someday, but people who just say things to try and sound clever irritate me a little. Perhaps I'm just too mainstream).

But I do also think that is kind of the point in it. We meet people every day who have little quirks and features that do irritate us. If I had a friend like Augustus I would love him- he's funny, he's caring and he's pretty adorable, but I would probably throw something at him every time something remotely dramatic spilled forth from his mouth. Sorry Gus. To me, the fact that he is pretentious makes him a little more realistic- he's not a perfect love interest, he's just a 'normal' (albeit dramatic and at times annoyingly deep) boy and his driving motivation, and I guess his flaw is that he wants to be remembered. And nobody can really be faulted for wanting to live a life worth living. I think this is something that can be found in most of us. Most people in the world have dreams of fame, whether it's worldwide or just in your social circle. Everybody wants to be remembered for something.

I felt Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort portrayed the characters very well. Hazel was likeable and grabbed the audience's sympathy without them actually pitying her. I love her sarcasm and her sense of humour, I also like the fact that she is passionate. When she's angry or she feels something needs to be said she is unashamed and unafraid to say it. (ie. the cigarette metaphor, because I found that really weird and was a bit of a stumbling block to the realism and does rather irritate me). Augustus was as charming as he's portrayed in the book, he's funny (literal heart of Jesus) and he's flawed. What I like about him is that he never quite gets what he's set his heart on. He has Hazel but he never saves a school full of hostage children, or throws himself in the line of fire for his country, he never achieves that one miracle that eternalises his name in history.

I like Hazel but for a while I did wonder what it was about her that made her human. She seemed a little squeaky-clean, apart from the fact that she wouldn't let anyone close to her. Yet it wasn't really until I watched the film and Van Houten asked her "Have you ever stopped to consider why you care so much about your silly questions?" that the weight of that really sunk in. Why does Hazel want to know what happens to the characters at the end of the book? Is it not enough for her to just imagine that they all live happily ever after? Most people will be confused or frustrated for a little while after the end of a book but will eventually move on and forget about it. Or come to terms with it. But not Hazel, for some reason she just can't let it go. She needs to know what happens to the daffodil man and Anna's mother and all the other people who played a part in Anna's story. I'm sure most people must have come to this conclusion way before I did but I eventually connected her fear of being a "grenade" with her obsession with 'Imperial Affliction'. Hazel fears that when she dies she will destroy everything around her. Whilst in Van Houten's book the characters cease to exist beyond Anna's fictional life, Hazel's family and few friends will continue, and her fear is what will happen to them when the book on her life is closed. I don't know exactly why but I found this incredibly touching. In this way Hazel and Gus seem to be polar opposites, whilst he wants to go out with a bang, Hazel wants to go with a whisper. (Now look who's getting all dramatical in this place).

The cinematography was good, I didn't find it over-awing or super impressive, but I think that's better as it meant the audience weren't distracted from the story. Having said that, certain scenes, such as Hazel laying under the stars and the hike up the Anne Frank house I did particularly like. I certainly absolutely do not have breathing problems to the extent Hazel does, but anyone who has ever experienced difficulty breathing will recognise the haziness and the way the rest of the world sort of fades out. So I would say that they captured this feeling pretty well. I found that some of the scenes where her illness actually came into the focus of the film (*cough* under oxygenation) felt rushed, or like they were swiftly passed over. I understand that it's very upsetting (I kid you not, once the plot reached Amsterdam I was sobbing through the rest of the film) but it did seem like it was pushed into the background. (On reading this article, however, Josh Boone's take that this wasn't a 'cancer film' but like 'Titanic where cancer is the iceberg. The iceberg is not as important as the love story" I can actually understand much better why they chose to do that.)

The soundtrack was really very good, I'd heard most of the songs before watching the films which meant that I knew the lyrics to them pretty well (meaning: I was singing along through my tears. Sorry Lizzie). This hurt insanely because when songs like M83's 'Wait' came on, the relevance of the lyrics struck me really rather hard. I've actually had this song on repeat whilst writing this and it makes me feel all kinds of emotional.

Talking afterwards me and Lizzie decided that reading the book first is definitely a wise move because you get a much better understanding of the characters and the struggles that Hazel faces. (On that note I also feel it was a good decision on the director's part not to include Caroline- I feel that would have complicated the film further than necessary and changed the focus from the love story). I also found that I was getting emotional before certain scenes because I knew we were leading up to them and I just didn't want them to happen. (Like the scene at the gas station, it gets me every time and I knew it was coming).

I don't cry at films, I've said this before and I will gladly say it again. (In my film watching history I think I've only cried at War Horse). The Fault in Our Stars made me sob like a baby. Sitting next to an equally emotionally distressed Lizzie, sharing a pack of tissues out between us (soo glad we decided to take them with us) and trying to sob and sniff discreetly in a cinema of about 4 other people (we decided to wait a while after it came out to see it and then go to an early viewing so there would be less people to see us in the after-effects of the film...).

This film is brilliant and I'd recommend it to any teenager, young adult and above, particularly if you like Perks of Being a Wallflower (Sorry for the comparison to the super-fans). This film is for everyone who has ever lost someone or just known the pain of separation. Known the fear of not knowing, or the fear of slowly fading away. For everyone who has ever known the happiness and the pain that comes with love. This film embodies so many of our fears and so many of our joys that it is pretty difficult not to get wrapped up into the emotions.

I've been writing and editing this over about two or three days now and it's now past 10 in the evening so I think it's time to close the lid on this one. Sorry it's so long and rambly, I didn't realise I had so much to say about it and I thought just this once I would indulge myself.

Obviously, all views are my own opinion unless otherwise stated and everybody is entitled to their own views, feel free to share yours below or write a post and send me the link!
Has anyone else seen the film or read the book? What did you think of it?

Love and hugs,
Kimmy x


Kate said...

This is beautifully written Kimmy. I think you may have just persuaded me to go and watch it! I definitely agree with your criticisms but you've actually made me see old Augustus in a more positive light too. I'll definitely give the book another go now. Fab review! x

Kimmy said...

Thank you Kate! Hahaha I hope you do enjoy it, if not then it's always worth it for the popcorn! ;) Yeah I have one of those like/dislike situations with Augustus, depends on my mood or the scene I guess. Oooh let me know what you think of it after a second reading. Thank you! x

Laura Schorr said...

I like how in depth you were with the review, and you also talked about the film, which I enjoyed!If you had a moment could you check out my blog:
I also just followed you on Bloglovin, if you could do the same!

Kimmy said...

Hey Laura! Thanks for the comment, I'll definitely check out your blog! :)