Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars: Movie Review #71

This is one of the most faithful adaptations of a book I’ve seen.  It was important to me to see the book represented because of my close relationship with Nerdfighteria and especially John Green’s works.  His books are one of the main inspirations when I’m writing.  There were three main things missing from book to movie translation and two small things, however the lack of main plot points did not detract from the story in any way, and I suspect one of the small things is in a deleted scene.  And the second small thing actually added well to character development.  Warning: this is gonna be spoilerific. So if you don’t want anything to be spoiled, run away now!  First with the missing parts...

Missing Item 1:

Augustus’s Previous Relationship

Part of his intrigue when he first meets Hazel is because she looks and reminds him of his previous girlfriend Caroline Mathers who passed away from cancer.  Hazel spends some time Facebook stalking (as any normal person would) and is interested about his past.  He eventually reveals more about their relationship, but tells her he genuinely likes her now not just because she looks like Caroline.  Since the central theme of the story is the relationship between Hazel and Gus, it’s allowable that the previous relationship is omitted.  Bringing up her story would mean at least several minutes discussing it which would detract from the story.

Missing Item 2:

Augustus’s Sisters

When Augustus has his decline in health, his half-sisters and their families come out to see him and help care for him.  Ultimately, the additional family (especially the small children) is more of a burden on him and he appreciates Hazel being there so much more, as do his parents.  But the additional family was lacking from the movie, and it didn’t detract as much as I thought it would.  It’s possible they could appear in a deleted scene, as his parents did have a few girls sitting next to them in the funeral scene.

Missing Item 3:

Augustus and Hazel taking care of each other while sick

Both characters deal with the inevitable health decline that comes from cancer.  While Hazel bounces back enough to go on the trip to Amsterdam, Gus declines until the end.  In the books, they each take turns taking care of each other.  Gus reads to Hazel.  Hazel plays video games with Gus.  These small moments were extracted from the film.  I wish it could have been added a little bit because while you do see Hazel taking care of Gus in a few key moments, you miss a lot of them just being together.  And that to me is what relationships are: being there for each even without doing anything.

Small Item Missing: the online ad for the swing set

Augustus comes over in the film and they sit and discuss things on the dilapidated swing set.  Later in the film, Hazel and Isaac sit in the same place but the swing set is gone.  In the book, they create an ad online for someone to get the swing set, so I’m guessing this will be a deleted scene since obviously it is gone later in the film.  I also want to see the deleted John Green scene.

Small item added: the limo

In the book, Gus does not arrive in a limo.  Hazel and her mother pick him up from his house, where you catch a snippet of an argument between him and his parents.  In the film, he rides up in a limo with a cigarette dangling from his lips.  This scene adds to the development of the character, because Augustus is cocky and needs to make a statement.  He hates that he’s facing oblivion and won’t be remembered forever.  Everything he does is to leave a story behind, and the limo scene does just that.

Overall, I would give the movie 10 out of 10.  Not only is it the truest adaptation I’ve seen, it’s heartbreakingly beautiful.  The characters are amazing, and portrayed well with their flaws, especially Augustus.  The soundtrack is one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard too.  Any cd that has multiple Birdy songs on it wins my vote.  The tracks vary from cutesy to melancholy, and all along that emotional spectrum.  I’ve been unable to stop listening to it.  Too amazing.  I encourage anyone to read this novel and see the film.  It may be young adult fiction, but in it you find so much more, including gratitude for your health.

No comments: