The countless fans of John Green’s bestselling novel are happy to see that the film of The Fault of Our Stars sticks to the book and delivers a wonderful story. It’s a sentimential tearjerker, but still a heartwarming story about young love, and life and death.
Hazel (Shailene Woodley) is a 16-year-old fighting thyroid cancer that’s moved into her lungs with the help of a new drug, but knows her time is limited. At a cancer support group she meets Gus (Ansel Elgort), also a cancer survivor, cocky and charming despite loosing a leg. She worries about hurting him, but a loving and positive, if doomed, relationship ensues, including an idyllic trip to Amsterdam to meet the author of Hazel’s favourite cancer book (Willem Dafoe).
Even if you haven’t read the book, there are not many surprises in the plot. However, it is a very pleasant and often realistic look at two young people falling in love for the first time. Woodley is wonderful, a talented young actress who doesn’t strike a false note for over two hours. Laura Dern is strong as her sad and protective mother.
There is that old Hollywood problem of dying people who actually look quite healthy, and the ending drags a bit, but this is enjoyable cinema.
There were lots of laughs and little sighs of satisfaction from the audience, many obviously very familiar with the story. There were lots of sobs too, so don’t forget to bring a hankie.
Rating: four deer out of five
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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.