Stories like this are why I love movies. This film is everything that is good about filmmaking. The Fault in Our Stars is about two teenagers who meet in a cancer support group and fall in love. Based on the book, and adapted beautifully, Fault gives a real and human view about people dealing with a terminal disease.
It was the kind of film I knew I would need to see alone. So when it was on my flight from Hong Kong back to the US, I waited till most of the passengers were sleeping so I could have a good snot-filled cry off at 37,000. In this day and age, it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t been affected by cancer in some way or another. The “lost their battle to cancer” phrase is heard way too often, which could lead a story like this down a boring road littered with dumb clichés. Fault does just the opposite and talks about cancer and death in very real terms. It’s messy and not easy because who the hell is ready to deal with having childhood taken away by a terminal illness? Certainly not these characters! (Which is why I loved this film.)
It reminded me of the Seth Rogen, #JGL film 50/50, which was also about cancer. The humor that comes from a brutal unfair reality is something I can relate to, as this is how most comedians deal with pain. Gut-punch funny about something as harsh as cancer and death is a way to take back the freedom of life from the jaws of some asshole monster who’s only purpose is to shit on sunny days and make children cry. I mean why the fuck did my brother-in-law’s younger brother die in his 20’s? Or my funny friend Sam Brown? Sam was a comic that I met when I first moved to LA in the mid 90’s. He died last year in his 40’s, leaving behind a wife and children. Yeah, that’s fair. So when these teenage kids are trying to have lives while caring around an air tank, blindness, or fake leg, it stands to reason that they might have a little different perspective than everyone else.
Adapting a novel is not easy, especially when it’s critically acclaimed. This screenplay was tight, from the dialogue to story structure to all the character arcs. No one felt fake or 2-dimensional. And the acting by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, along with great supporting by Laura Dern, was solid. Even the small appearances by Willam Defoe were painfully human. I hope to see more from director Josh Boone (Stuck In Love). My only regret was I didn’t see this in a movie theater. If you haven’t seen this film go Palm Strike yourself for not and then get the most out of life. Squeeze everything you can out of every day because it is very short and you never know when it’s over. Travel, try something new, and fall in love. I’m going to open my heart up and shine the beacon of hope and deep profound love to all I meet, except for Michael Bay and patent trolls. Those guys need help.