Review: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Review: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (2014)

It's far from great, but Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort's impeccable performances elevated this otherwise cliched romantic tearjerker.


Prior to the local press screening of this highly-anticipated romantic tearjerker THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, I have read a lot of comments from various internet sources about how most viewers from the U.S. ended up crying after watching the movie (which is already playing in the cinemas since June 6). This of course, makes me more curious about watching this well-received movie.
  
WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?

Based on John Green's bestselling 2012 novel of the same name, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS centres on Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley), a 16-year-old teenager who has been suffering from thyroid cancer ever since she was a child. One day while attending a weekly cancer support group, she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a recently cancer-free survivor who has his right leg amputated. Augustus falls in love with her immediately and both of them begin to spend a lot of time together.
  
THE GOOD STUFF
 
Josh Boone's direction is mostly efficient, but one of the greatest strengths of this movie come from screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (2009's (500) DAYS OF SUMMER, 2013's THE SPECTACULAR NOW). The adapted screenplay is especially well-written because of their unique way of approaching such difficult subject matter like cancer with a subtle mix of emotional and light-hearted values without making them into an awkward clash of two different tones. The dialogue is smart and witty, while profound messages such as life can be meaningful no matter how sick a person is and true love is possible regardless of health condition, are simply inspirational.

Another biggest draw of this movie here is the top-notch cast. Shailene Woodley delivers an award-worthy role as Hazel, and this is no doubt one of her most emotionally poignant performances she's ever done in her career. Ansel Elgort is similarly remarkable with his charming performance as Augustus. In fact, both Woodley and Elgort are such an incredible match as lovely couple it's hard not to get emotionally attached with them. The supporting casts are equally great as well, with Laura Dern shines in her genuinely heartfelt performance as Hazel's long-suffering mother who always tries to stay positive despite her daughter's terminal illness. Nat Wolff is likable as Augustus' best friend, Isaac, while Willem Dafoe is suitably cast as the eccentric author Peter Van Houten where both Hazel and Augustus are particularly fans of his book.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT(S)
 
The emotionally uplifting, and at times heartbreaking scene involving two eulogy presentations in front of a dying character who wants to witness it first before the imminent death.

THE BAD STUFF
  
There are times where Josh Boone tends to push the emotional button way too hard in the tearjerker finale. It's like as if he has to be so enslaved with the genre requirement to force the viewers shed their tears, rather than letting the scene unfolds in a more naturalistic manner.

FINAL WORDS

While THE FAULT IN OUR STARS may have been not as phenomenal as I led to believe at the first place, it remains an effective romance drama worth checking out for.

* This review is written courtesy from 20th Century Fox Malaysia press screening *

 

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