#FaultInOurStars: worth the read, but that’s about it #FIOS

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Like the MANY high schoolers and their parent chaperones, I, too, trekked to the movie theatre to see the phenomenal cancer-teen-angst novel “The Fault In Our Stars” be portrayed on the big screen last night. And unfortunately, I was quite disappointed by the visuals I saw. Think watered down Hollywood “Notebook” version of the indie dark sarcastic literary masterpiece.

ATTN: SPOILERS AHEAD

Let’s start with the main protagonist: Hazel Grace. While Shailene Woodley, a young actress who has shown us that she is a pretty talented individual, delivered lines with the same gusto I’d have expected from the “grenade” Hazel, I was surprised by how healthy she appeared on-screen. Throughout the book, Hazel makes a point to explain just how miserable existence is for her through her angst-ridden monologues. Yet, Shailene only appears to be slightly ill about three times at most throughout the whole film.

See? Too healthy.

Another thing that could have helped the plot move along would have been the use of actual voice-over. The narration and progression of the plot by Hazel would have been the perfect device to establish the film within it’s genre and to also utilize a tool that has been proven to work multiple times (“Perks of Being A Wallflower,” anyone?).

On par with that was the rushed feeling I got while watching the film. I felt like they tried to force so much of the book into the film time available. By doing so, they limited themselves to having only a handful of scenes that seemed to convey the correct amount of emotion. Mind you, the theatre full of high school girls seemed to have disagreed with me on that point, seeing as they were bawling for the second half of the film.

The last thing that disappointed me was how the producers and screen adaptors left out key scenes in order to make certain plot points occur around the same time. For example, I was really excited to see Hazel and Augustus’ dinner exchange in which they poke fun at their dinner prepared by Gus’ mother. Another part was the delivery of the Fault In Our Stars line. The one about Shakespeare and how William had it wrong the whole time- the fault lies in our stars, not our circumstances. But, again, I feel like this is a problem I run into with most book adaptations.

The original Shakespeare quote.

Overall, I was disappointed in the film – things seemed rushed and at all how I expected. It’s a cute film that will definitely be raking in the big bucks this weekend, but don’t expect to be wowed. Unless not-so-great writing in a chick flick is your type of film (and if that’s the case, watch ANY of the Nicholas Sparks adaptations).

But, in terms of the book and soundtrack, now those are two pieces I can definitely get on-board with. “Boom Clap” by Charli XCX has been my jam for the past four months already and it still hasn’t lost its punch. The same goes for the rest of the soundtrack. It’s a nice little emotional roller coaster. The novel itself is a quick-read; a definite page-turner that will engross the reader from start to finish. I could really picture myself in the role of the protagonist or even Augustus, having said some of his over-confident lines occasionally to try to woo someone (and yes, SOMETIMES they would work 😉 ). The part that really surprised me was Green‘s understanding of angsty dialogue. He NAILED the conversations among the characters. That was one thing I thought the film producers would not change at all. But alas, the two times they really screwed the pooch (once in the Van Houten scene and again in Augustus’ letter to Hazel) had me cringing and wanting the film to just end already. I mean, I cried (a little bit only 😉 ) at the end of the book. But when watching the film, I never shed a tear. And visuals are usually when I start bawling like a toddler. But, thank GOD it didn’t happen yesterday lol.

A beautiful infographic with most of the memorable aspects of the film. Gotta love those creative teen die-hards who create these things.

So, if you really want to see a sappy retelling of a well-written story, pay to see “Fault In Our Stars.” Otherwise, wait for it to come out on Netflix or RedBox. I’ll leave you with “Boom Clap.”

 

 

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