As Seen on the Big Screen: The Fault in Our Stars
I’m an avid reader, and I’m sure many people share the feeling I get when I hear the news that one of my favorite books is being adapted into a film: a potent cocktail of anticipation and dread. Who will play my favorite character? Which of my favorite moments will end up on the cutting room floor, or worse, not even make it into the screenplay? We readers simply want the magic that we found within the pages of a story to be properly translated to the big screen. Bearing that in mind, I’ve selected some books I own that have film adaptations, and in these articles I will discuss what I loved about these books and how their film counterparts measured up.
The Book – The Fault in Our Stars by John Green was published in 2012. The summary of the novel is as follows: “The story is narrated by a sixteen-year-old cancer patient named Hazel, who is forced by her parents to attend a support group, where she subsequently meets and falls in love with the seventeen-year-old Augustus Waters, an ex-basketball player and amputee.”
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this book. If you want to know how I came across the book, you can read my article “A Love Letter to The Fault in Our Stars”. What I liked the most about TFiOS is how normal it is, even with the element of cancer thrown into the mix. The young adult genre is a market saturated with stories that contain main characters who are, to borrow a term I heard from my fellow writer Mike Hansen, “Special Little Snowflakes” – but Hazel and Gus are just regular kid. They get embarrassed by their parents, go to school, and obsess over their mutual love of a book. What sets them apart from you and me is their illnesses, but they try to not let their lives be defined by that fact.
In the novel, Hazel is obsessed with finding out what happened after her favorite novel An Imperial Affliction: what becomes of Anna’s mother, whether the Dutch Tulip Man is a crook or not, and even the fate of Anna’s hamster Sisyphus. She’s eaten up by it, and that burning desire is the chief reason why she begins her email correspondence with Van Houten in the first place. Maybe to some degree, she really does want to know these things, but from a psychological standpoint what Hazel really wants to know is what will happen to her loved ones when she dies. She wants to know that her parents will be okay when she’s gone because she says, “There’s one thing worse than biting it from cancer…having your kid bite it from cancer.”
How the Movie Measured Up: The book was adapted into a film this year, starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as the star-crossed lovers Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters. Augustus’ friend Isaac was played by Nat Wolff, and Hazel’s parents were played by Laura Dern and Sam Trammell. The bitter drunk and author of Hazel and Gus’s favorite book Peter Van Houten was played by Willem Dafoe.
For the full extent of my feels for this film, check out my review of the movie. To make a long story short, it was a fantastic adaptation and well worth a trip to the movie theater. The screenplay was incredibly faithful to the book and, as I stated in my review of the film, as close to perfect as one can get. It’s even hard to pick out one particular performance as a stand-out; all of the actors and actresses involved did amazing jobs. Shailene and Ansel have great chemistry and are very natural on screen. The way the special effects department did Hazel and Gus’s text message conversations was extremely clever and looked really cool. As with the book, when you’re getting your concession items, be sure to grab some napkins or have tissues tucked away because you will need them!
Both the book and its movie are great examples of storytelling at its finest, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience this story! Stay tuned for more articles like this one. Next time I’ll be covering the hysterical Bridget Jones’ Diary, so read and watch up! For now, tell me your thoughts about TFiOS. Have you read the book or seen the film? If so, comment below with your thoughts and thank you for reading!
Author: Sarah Sue
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