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“The Fault in our Stars” – Review/Rant (SO-SO POSITIVE)

June 12, 2014

Screen shot 2014-06-12 at 12.14.08 PMATTENTION: I’m sure there will be quite a few who’ll disagree with me here, but I’m just stating my own personal opinions. Think what you want. What you like is what you like, I’m perfectly fine with that. In this review/rant I’ll be comparing and contrasting “The Fault in our Stars” along side “50/50”.

Now, don’t be hating on me, but I could not for the life of me emotionally get attached to any of the characters in “The Fault of our Stars”. The story was sound, no question, but the characters, something about them seemed very phony, mainly the dude in this whole film. Gus (Ansel Elgort). His constant corky outlook on ‘oblivion’ and having to smile every god damn second, even when the situation is depressing (with the exception of a few scenes). It’s the first time I’m actually rooting for the cancer to win. How sad is that?!

Does it make me a bad person that I couldn’t weep like every other sad sap/hormonal tween girl in the theater? Probably not, Truth be told, this film isn’t covering any new grounds in the cancer-drama genre. There have been countless films that have come before it, and others that will follow. A few that come to mind that have actually produced a well rounded drama with characters you can be personally attached to is the 2011 dramedy “50/50”.

I’m not aware of the author, John Green’s personal background in the creation of his bestselling teen novel, but for me I find that finding humor in such a dire and serious situation is a valor one. Screenwriter, Will Reiser, did such that in his original screenplay, “50/50”, which is based on his personal experiences dealing with cancer. “50/50” didn’t necessarily get caught up in whimsy, nor did it overdramatize the love story elements, it simply showed us realities that are a little more grounded.

Now it’s fair to say that “The Fault of our Stars” does touch on grounded realities as well. It actually shares something in common with “50/50”; empty promises. In “Stars”, one of the supporting characters, Isaac (Nat Wolff), loses his eyes to his cancer; he goes through a heartfelt break-up, due to the fact that his (ex) girlfriend couldn’t…’handle it’. This I bought, this is something that could actually happen, in fact it did happen to Reiser, it’s in “50/50”, Bryce Dallas Howard’s character totally cheats on JGL’s Adam, simply she couldn’t ‘handle it’.

The problem however “Stars” faces is it’s ending, the living eulogy scene I think pretty much did it for me, and not in the sense many of you would believe. While the echoes of wet sniffles of tween girls everywhere could be heard in my theater, for me, I’m sitting there questioning how ANYONE is buying into such overdramatized, soap opera-esq, goop? Is it really that easy to tug at a girls heartstrings over a couple smiling at one another like drones and repeating ‘Ok’ to one another.

Screen shot 2014-06-12 at 12.13.59 PMI’ve rarely cried in a movie, there have been special occasions when a tear has shed my sockets. The surgery scene from “50/50” was the one that did it in for me. It’s real, it’s heartfelt, and the power of love is strong in this scene, not just from a romantic level, but from family, friends, and yes, amorous as well. That scene was a definitive moment throughout the entire narrative of “50/50”, and without question it was a definitive moment for Will Reiser.

Let me be clear, I did NOT hate “The Fault in our Stars”, the movie does get some things right, SOME is the key word here, but at the end of the day was it real? Was it really something anyone should actually buy into? Can the 200 tweens in the theater actually relate to those characters on a symbiotic level? It’s questionable.

GRADE: B-

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