Marlborough Mid-Week : June 18th 2014
14 MARLBOROUGH MIDWEEK, JUNE 18, 2014 ENTERTAINMENT Moving: Cancer can’t stop Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort falling in love in The Fault in Our Stars. No faults with these stars Young actors deliver emotion in witty and warm screenplay you’re a little kid, crying can also help you manipulate people. The value of a good sob wasn’t NOW SHOWING BY MATT LAWREY The Fault in Our Stars (M) ★★★★ (out of five) If there is one thing I’ve learnt over the years, it’s that every now and then everyone needs a good cry. A good cathartic bawl can you do the world of good. Tears hydrate your eyes, kill bacteria, remove toxins, lower stress and apparently even reduce blood pressure. Not only that but, if lost on anyone at the screening I attended of the teenagers-withcancer film The Fault in Our Stars. The audience, which was dominated by teenage girls, had few problems with letting their emotions out. In fact, the row behind me was pretty much blubbering for the last 20 minutes. Based on the best-seller by John Green, the movie tells the story of Hazel and Augustus, a couple of smart teenagers who meet at a support group for young cancer patients. Hazel, played by Shailene Woodley, is living with terminal thyroid cancer that has wrecked her lungs. Augustus, played by Ansel Elgort, has lost a leg to osteosarcoma. The outgoing Augustus and the thoughtful Hazel hang out, share their stories, and soon fall for each other in classic star-crossed lovers style. The cast also includes Laura Dern as Hazel’s mum and Willem Dafoe as her favourite writer. Hot on the heels of Divergent, Woodley continues to impress. For a young Hollywood actress there is something very down-to-earth about her. There is nothing in-your-face about her style of acting yet her performances register because she is so believable in every role. It’s the same here. Woodley doesn’t look sick but she is so emotionally convincing you buy it. Hazel is sarcastic yet kind, young yet mature and idealistic yet realistic. It’s not often such a low-key character carries a film but Woodley pulls it off with little apparent effort. Elgort also does well in the less clearly defined role of Augustus. Over-the-top and with an opinion on everything, Augustus occasionally tries too hard but the world is a better place with him in it. Elgort does an excellent job of convincing us he has fallen headover-heels for Hazel and it’s nice to see a young man playing an outrageous romantic for a change. The crisp screenplay by Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter is witty, engaging and believable. The pair also wrote the wonderful (500) Days of Summer and the acclaimed The Spectacular Now, which also starred Woodley. Director Josh Boone does a top job of bringing it all together, giving the characters room to breathe and making great use of the winning script. In less gifted hands, The Fault in Our Stars could have easily turned into something mawkish. Like its young stars, The Fault in Our Stars is a hard film not to like. The only criticism I can make is that its characters are a little too good to be true. Apart from that it’s a winner. Bottom line: warm, witty, wise and occasionally wonderful.
July 2nd 2014