By Rianne Hill Soriano

Heartbreakingly beautiful

Posted on June 06, 2014

Movie Review
The Fault in Our Stars
Directed by Josh Boone

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS takes a clichéd romantic tale and turns it into a heart-wrenching journey of love and life and everything in between. Its fascinatingly heavy material is set up to knock down its audience with existential themes that walk a knife’s edge. The film resonates long after viewing.

Based on John Green’s best-selling young adult novel of the same title, this dramatic piece delves into the life of a teen cancer patient who undergoes experimental treatment which meets unexpected but possibly temporary success. Her illness limits her daily life and burdens her parents but things change when she meets a fellow teen at a cancer support group who ignites a newfound joy in her life. This leads to an unlikely adventure that gives meaning to their lives and those of her ever-supportive parents.

Engagingly plotted with its heart-on-sleeve sensitivity, the narrative effectively examines the physical and emotional roller-coaster ride undergone by the characters. It is as sad as it is beautiful. It is sweet, funny and heartbreaking. It is a swollen tearjerker, yet there is much humor within the melancholy. Despite a predictable story, this emotionally heartfelt picture is worth every smile and tear.

Certain scenes get on the verge of histrionics, but relatively unknown director Josh Boone is able to handle the delicate material with surgical precision, allowing the audience to more easily connect with the lead, supporting, and even minor characters. Considering how the story is designed to play the heartstrings like a fiddle, the simplicity with which the situations unfold carries the story.

The screenplay, camera work, art direction and editing shine, veering away from cookie-cutter teen drama elements.

Anchored by rich characterizations and amazing screen chemistry, this well-paced offering greatly benefits from the outstanding ensemble cast.

Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort render relatable, multifaceted portrayals as the sophisticatedly sarcastic Hazel Grace Lancaster and the metaphor-loving Augustus “Gus” Waters. Making the story even more believable are the supporting performances by Laura Dern and Sam Trammell as Hazel’s parents, Willem Dafoe as the alcoholic jerk of a writer Van Houten and Nat Wolff as Gus’ hilariously serious best friend Isaac.

Boone has taken a successful novel and created a triumph of cinema, a potential Oscar contender for a couple of categories including the lead and supporting acting, screenplay, and best picture. It is truly worth watching.

MTRCB Rating: PG