"it’s refreshing and surprisingly funnier and witter than you think"
It’s already taken $48 million in the opening weekend at the US box office beating big hitters Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” ($33.5 million) and Tom Cruise’s “Edge of Tomorrow” ($29.1 million) with film studio figures showing an audience of 82% female.
Based on John Green’s bestselling book The Fault In Our Stars follows teenage cancer sufferer Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and her everyday battle and at a support group Hazel meets and falls for chirpy amputee Gus (Ansel Elgort). After introducing Gus to her favourite novel, Hazel is excited when he befriends the author by email. Will meeting their hero live up to their expectations?
It would have been easy to make a teen film about cancer to focus on death and being a Hollywood tearjerker, but not Fault it’s refreshing and surprisingly wider than you think. Instead of feeling sorry and pitying them Hazel (Woodley) and Gus (Elgort) focus on living life to its fullest while they can.
Narrated by the 16 year old Hazel it also takes a look on how the cancer as affected her family with Laura Dern putting in a thoughtful performance as the kind, smiley mother who’s fighting her own emotions whilst being split from giving her daughter a normal life and protecting her.
The film explores the characters deeper by what they don’t say with Hazel’s parents’ anxious faces speak volumes; as does Gus’ jokes and many metaphors and philosophies.
The performances were brilliant and the casting was spot on: Woodley upholds her fresh-faced, girl-next-door looks which should win over the young audience however it’s Elgort (Woodley’s brother in Divergent) who’s the star, he’s charming, flirtatious and deep while not trying to be the obvious hunk (like Ryan Gosling in The Notebook) which will have every girl between the age of 14 – 25 falling in love with him and every guy will up their game.
Despite moments when this story felt like it was stumbling around the actions of argumentative author Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe) and the hospital flashbacks. It’s a romanticising tale of a short life well keeping the nasty stuff hidden away but it does what it does well and you leave with a tear or two in your eye.
Verdict – Despite a few missteps this is a beautiful story and a real tearjerker with Shailene Woodley putting in her best performance and Ansel Elgort is a star in the making.