Vulnerability is a concept too easy to embrace nor reject. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is a risky thing to do but as with the matters of life and living it, they say you’re not doing it right if you shun away from it.
I did not intend to watch The Fault In Our Stars because people have been saying that it’s an ultimate cry-fest film about two cancer patients who fell in love. At first, I thought that it was just another A Walk to Remember movie but I wanted to give it a chance so I watched it.
I did not read the book so I have no further background aside from the gut feeling that someone will die. When I watched the trailer and heard the male lead say “life is good, Hazel Grace,” I thought maybe this movie had a different attack. The truthfulness and optimism of the trailer is inviting and the movie delivered all these and more. It confirmed the advice of the people around me prior to watching: bring tissue; don’t say we didn’t warn you.
True enough, the film is nearly flawless. It took me to an emotional roller coaster ride with its simplicity and poignancy backed up with a beautiful soundtrack featuring One Republic, Birdy, M83, Grouplove, and Ed Sheeran to name a few.
Starring two cancer patients who literally met in the heart of Jesus, Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) face every person’s fear of living in a world that is out of their control and together they strive to fight for their utmost desires.
The movie opens up with Hazel Grace being diagnosed with depression as a side effect of cancer but she contradicts this by saying “depression is not a side effect of cancer. It is a side effect of dying.”
Armed with clear views on mortality, Hazel Grace appears to be somewhat cynic and sarcastic. But the charming Gus who is fond of metaphors dare believe something else –the notion to be remembered despite losing his right leg to cancer.
Portrayed as a cheesy and caricature-like 18 year old who drives terribly, Gus will make you tear up a bit with his pungent quips especially the one where he said that the world is not a wish-granting factory. But on top of everything else, Gus is cheesy and lovable, practically almost every girl’s dream. Though it would help to show more of Gus’ character flesh out, what they sticked with turned out fine. Together, the main leads performances are encompassing and far from annoying.
Another notable character is Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe), author of An Imperial Affliction, Hazel Grace’s favorite book. Van Houten is an alcoholic who hates Americans and now resides in Amsterdam. He is a crucial character in the movie, presumably one of the villains aside from the leads’ terminal disease. Dafoe’s portrayal is effectively employed alongside the hopeful leads who want nothing but closure from their favorite author.
TFIOS is a movie that will thaw even the coldest of hearts; it will genuinely move you. Cancer is no easy sell but to combine it with Holocaust, that’s just too heavy to bear. The movie centers on pain and it plays it really well as it intends its viewers to feel and care for the characters and they’ve succeeded on this.
Gus and Hazel Grace’s love deserves a happy ending and they got it, just not in the way the usual romance stories do. Alongside its realism about the uncontrollable facets of life, the movie teaches the significance of the word “okay” not just as a term of endearment but also a lesson about life in general.