Faultless big screen adaptation

NADINE HANCOCK
Last updated 12:55 03/07/2014
The Fault in our Stars

DELIGHTFUL: Hazel and Gus invite us to share their beautiful heartbreak and we feel honoured they did.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Fault in our Stars. Starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Willem Dafoe; directed by Josh Boone

If you haven't heard of young-adult author John Green, then boy oh boy, this is certainly the best and most emotional way be introduced.

The Fault in Our Stars is Green's most popular work of fiction. He has, of course, written other novels including the mystery Paper Towns and the distressing Looking for Alaska.

But just as John Marsden will always be known for Ellie in his Tomorrow series, John Green will forever be recognised as the man who told us the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters.

Concerned for their daughter who has cancer, Hazel's parents send her to a support group where she runs into Augustus - Gus.

Smiling across the room at her, Gus is obviously intrigued by Hazel, but he does nothing more than irritate her. However, after a quick conversation, the pair realise they have a bond beyond the disease each of them has. As their friendship grows, so do the challenges that each faces.

Performing with courage and tenderness, Shailene Woodley is the perfect fit for the intelligent and pragmatic Hazel. Recently seen in Divergent, Woodley has shone in every film she has been a part of including The Descendants and The Spectacular Now. She recently attended a panel to discuss this film where tears gave away the emotional connection she had to Hazel and the film.

Complementing Woodley is her Divergent co-star Ansel Elgort, who completely embodies the Gus I pictured while reading Green's book. This almost never happens; reality perpetually conflicts with my imagination. This time, though, Elgort nailed the arrogant-yet-charming nature of Gus and it was wonderful to watch.

TFIOS - as fans affectionately call it - forces its audiences to experience a spectrum of emotions. It is rare that a film can make me so unbearably sad but keep me smiling at the same time. Of course the casting and performances are a few of the reasons why, but I found the dialogue to be the main cause.

The book has so many passages that are often quoted by fans. To hear them spoken aloud by Woodley and Elgort was an absolute pleasure, even if they were at different points in the plot. Lines created by Green and screenplay writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H Weber were delivered with heart, and remained honest and confronting.

I have had an affinity for Neustadter and Weber ever since watching their fresh and quirky take on the rom-com genre with 500 Days of Summer. Their talent for dialogue flawlessly complements the words that Green put on paper. This partnership will continue in Paper Towns, Green's next work to be adapted for the big screen.

The Fault in Our Stars is incredible. It is a film that shows the intimate and memorable moments of human connection when it is most desperately needed. Take lots of tissues and a shoulder to cry on because you will definitely be in a puddle of tears once the closing credits roll.

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- The Southland Times

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