Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Fault in Our Stars - No Spoilers

Last week I had the privilege to see a preview screening of The Fault in Our Stars.  It is the number one movie in the US as I write and is coming out in the UK today (19th June)!!! I don't think it is possible to live through the summer of 2014 without seeing this film.

It is based on the Y/A novel by John Green and tells the story of Hazel and Augustus who meet at their cancer support group. I read the book last year and cried aggressively on a train when I read it.

 The story is excellent.  The writing is superb (I've read all of his other novels as well). And the experience of physically reading it is memorable to me. So I packed my tissues and headed out after work.

It was the teen writing website Movellas who got me the last minute ticket to see the film. They are the official TFIOS fan fiction partner, and I have to say that the quality of the John Green fan fiction on their site is some of the best fan fiction writing I've read. The screening was at 20th Century Fox on Soho Square which have the most comfortable cinema seats I have ever experienced in my life. In the reception were drinks and food but I noticed that hardly anyone was taking advantage of them. Everyone was too excited, we found seats and settled down. There were no pre-rolls and no one eating pop corn. Basically the dream cinema trip.

What did I think of the film? 9/10 'I was saving my 10'

Inevitably with a book adaptation there are moments where your memory of the text and what is shown on screen spar with each other in your brain. For example, there is a restaurant scene which takes place outside under the trees in the book but is indoors in the film.  The decor of the bedrooms wasn't quite what I expected. Hazel's voice wasn't what I had imagined.Tiny, silly, details. There are some cuts, but again, everything was done very well and they were tiny in the scheme of things.

The casting was really REALLY good, particularly Hazel's parents. I thought Laura Dern was everything I
imagined Hazel's mother to be and she really made that role her own. Willem Dafoe was a surprise cast as Peter Van Hounten, and of course he is a highly talented actor, he did perfectly. The character of Isaac, played by Nat Wolff had potential to be a very hammed character, but I thought he brought the character some serious depth.

There were a couple things that let it down though. Now don't get me wrong. Shailene Woodley did a really good job as Hazel, she looked the part and she suited the role. But when it came to acting as if she was living with lung cancer, it felt like she was just reciting the lines, almost as if the words would be powerful enough to pull her through. It is hard to convincingly portray illnesses or disabilities of any kind anyway but I thought there could have been more effort from her. She seemed to swing between being a totally healthy teenager who was rocking some eccentric oxygen tubing, where standing and having animated conversations, even running is no problem, to being unable to stand or breathe.  It was a tall order and she was just a little too short. Maybe it was because Ansel Elgort was next to her and I believed fully that he had a prosthetic leg.

The other was the soundtrack, which is star studded and had huge media coverage all on its own.  I genuinely didn't even notice the sound track. It was totally silent most of the time. There was one moment when a song played, ended, and then dialogue started. There wasn't much of an overall score for the movie or a cohesive sound or theme.

As we left the building, the security guard had a box of tissues on the counter. Just as well, I cried at the half way point and then pretty much every five minutes until the end. Just like the book. My tiny issues with it are not enough to stop me seeing it again tomorrow!

This film is the next 'The Notebook' so all you boyfriends out there, get used to it, we LOVE The Fault in Our Stars and you MUST watch it with us and bring us doughnuts. Okay? Okay.

THANK YOU Movellas!

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