The Fault in Our Stars

Who says cancer support groups can't be uplifting? On the first official "open" day of the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival, I managed to catch a film that wasn't part of the press screenings I have attended for the past three weeks. And was it worth it! The Egyptian Theatre was filled to the rafters with fans of the wildly popular Young Adult novel by John Green; it was fun to watch the audience telegraph each phase of this realistic look at young people dealing with malignancies. The young gal next to me pulled out some tissue in anticipation of one sad scene and wriggled with glee when something funny was coming up.

This film is loaded with humor, but it also has powerful performances by stellar actors. The author was on set during the filming, so he was downstairs while the mother and daughter were doing an extremely emotional scene in an upstairs bedroom. Green became so agitated when he heard the girl's voice, they had to restrain him from barging in on the scene to comfort her.

We admire:
  • Shailene Woodley ("Divergent") is Hazel, our young heroine, suffering from terminal cancer, who schleps her oxygen equipment everywhere she goes...including Anne Frank's attic in Amsterdam!
  • Ansel Elgort ("Divergent" - he was her brother in that one) Gus refuses to be pulled into Hazel's negative space, but he does it with such wit and charm, she can't help but respond.
  • Laura Dern ("Enlightened") is our heroine's happily married mother, insightful, supportive and consistently loving.
  • Sam Trammell ("True Blood") is her father, who isn't sure his girl has enough strength for a friendship like this.
  • Nat Wolff ("Stuck in Love") is their best friend Isaac who has lost one eye to cancer and now is confronted with the possibility of losing the other...plus a girlfriend. He shows us the therapeutic value of venting one's rage. We LOVED the scene with the eggs!
  • Willem Dafoe ("The Grand Budapest Hotel") is Peter Van Houten, a much-admired author they want to meet.
  • Lotte Verbeek ("Outlander"!) is his lovely personal assistant.
Kudos to Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber for adapting this poignant novel for its legions of youthful fans. There is no profanity, nudity, gunfire, vehicular mayhem or blowie uppie stuff. This audience left the theater very, very happy.
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Here is a trailer:
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