From Books to Screen….Sizzle or Scream? The Fault in our Stars

By now, you have probably seen it…at least twice. Maybe even a third time if you spent your first two viewings attempting to navigate through the constant flood of tears that steered you off your movie-enjoying course. But enough with the metaphors…today, I am here to talk about the film adaptation of John Green’s wildly successful novel. So let’s find out, did the film sizzle or make me want to scream?

The trailer: 


Anyone with half a brain could tell you this trailer screamed Young Adult in the type of swoony-tear-jerky-notebook type of way that would drive young girls to the theaters in hordes. And had audiences merely based their decisions to see or not see the film based off the trailer alone, I can imagine a lot of people, including myself, might have waited till DVD. It’s the same reason I put off reading the book for over a year after snatching a copy at BEA. I thought it was just another doomed love story, high on the corn syrup and low on the actual heart. Fans of the story know it is much, much more. Hands down one of the smartest YA novels I have ever had the privilege of reading (I have since read everything Mr. Green has seen fit to publish and pretty much think he is the best thing to happen to reading since J. K Rowling). I think word of mouth drove the masses to the theaters more than this trailer, and thank God it did. 

What Worked:

Can we talk about Shailene Woodley for a minute? I loathe the show, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and I have to admit I based my distaste for it largely on the shoulders of Ms. Woodley. I thought she was one of the worst actresses I had ever seen. Goes to show you how important good writing is when inspiring good acting. When I first heard she was going to be playing Hazel, I nearly loss my cookies. I could not have been more pleasantly surprised. She was so effortlessly natural as Hazel that I utterly lost myself in her performance. She wasn’t playing Hazel, she was Hazel. So much so that while I thought Ansel was well-suited for the film, he got lost in her performance as well. It was her story.

Finally, a film that knows how important the small roles are. From the parents to best friends, the supporting roles were perfectly executed, saving the film from moments of deep, never-ending darkness with their spots of brightness. 

The music. I love a good soundtrack, and the songs selected for this film helped a timeless story stay relevant. 

What didn’t work:

One of the reasons I recommend TFIOS to anyone who asks is because of how achingly, beautifully smart it is. I love the conversations about philosophy, mathematics, and literary theory. While the film did pay homage to these conversations and musings, it was always in a watered down version. I don’t think the film needed to do this, and I felt a bit cheated at times. These discussions are part of what made so many fans love the film, and it would help those who didn’t read it and those who constantly try to label YA as juvenile to see that it could be so much more. 

Verdict: Sizzler! Overall, I really enjoyed the film. Even watered down, the TFIOS movie is a nice chance of pace, and I will def be adding it to my DVD collection. 


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