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Page to Screen: The Fault in our Stars

2014 June 9
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tfios poster

All right fellow YA lovers and nerdfighters, this past weekend was a big one for us. The much anticipated movie adaptation of 2012 Teens’ Top Ten pick The Fault in our Stars came out on Friday with some theaters even previewing it on Thursday night. This heavily anticipated film has received a lot of media coverage as of late because of the book (and certainly John Green’s) large fandom.

Fans of the book and Green have been very vocal about their anticipation and expectations for this film. John Green made the film seem like a collaborative process to get from page to screen, and the filmmakers were pretty vocal about their love of the source material. The collaborative aspect with Green in and of itself is rare since authors usually get NO say whatsoever once the film rights have been sold to the book, so this was huge and something that made me as a fan pretty hopeful for the adaptation.

John Green really gave me hope for this movie, and I daresay this film might just be one of the truest adaptations of a book that I’ve seen in a long time. Now there were changes made from page to screen and for a full rundown of those you can check out this EW article, but the heart of the book was all there. John Green’s words were there. 

Shailene Woodley is Hazel Grace Lancaster. Tris who?! She was honestly just beautiful in this movie and not in a Hollywood superficial kind of way, but in that no makeup, hair shorn off and tears in her eyes, heartbreakingly real beautiful.  Dare I say even if you went in slightly creeped out that Tris’ brother was now going to be playing her boyfriend, Ansel Elgort made you forget all about dear Caleb. He made Augustus Waters wonderfully adorkable and funny.

My one slight complaint about some of the book to movie changes is that they made the character of Gus a little too perfect. Don’t get me wrong the swoon worthy moments certainly made it worth it, but changes like the removal of his ex-girlfriend also took out a layer of reality that Green had built into the character of Augustus. While you could see how Gus’ ex-girlfriend is not necessary to the film storyline as a whole, it was kind of necessary to his character development. They just took out too many of Augustus’ flaws, which skirted the line for me of making him into too much of the perfect movie boyfriend. He’s not meant to be perfect, neither is Hazel. I liked that about the characters, as I’m sure many fans do. With all of that said, the film always felt like John Green. Even with the changes, it never jumped the emotional shark and for that many fans will be grateful. The love and the humor and the pain are all there. Woodley and Elgort captured it wonderfully. My favorite surprise of the film was Hazel’s mother. Laura Dern packs quite an emotional punch. She nailed that role and broke my heart all at the same time.

It looks like I’m not alone in my love for this adaptation either because 82% of critics and 92% of audiences loved this movie according to Rotten Tomatoes. That’s not even mentioning the cash it’s brought in so far, which as of Friday was already $26.1 million. For a little perspective on how huge that is, TFIOS made more money on its first day then Divergent made in its first weekend. It also totally trounced that Tom Cruise flick. Not bad for the little YA movie that could.

What did others think? Well for some more fan reaction, you can check out this Youtube video put together by 20th Century Fox after initial screenings:

There are also always the unadulterated views of those on Tumblr.

And let’s not forget our friends on Twitter:

 

 

All in all, it looks like most of us that saw TFIOS had a hard time keeping it together during this movie. Tears and sniffles were all around the theater during the last bit of the film. Tissues were definitely required. Because of this, I was entirely grateful at the ending changes in the movie. This is purely because I don’t think that I would’ve been able to hold it together in a manner polite for movie theaters otherwise. They showed just enough of Augustus suffering and Hazel’s loss for me. This is one of those things that needed to be changed when put up on a screen. It would’ve been far too rough emotionally to visually go through everything that happened on the page. It was just enough to be true to the experience of reading and feeling those pages.

What did you think of the movie, readers? Did you love it or hate it? Did you require a box of Kleenex or were you flabbergasted by the mass sniffles in your theater?

-Katie Shanahan Yu, currently reading The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. Jenn permalink
    June 9, 2014

    Loved it. I’m highly analytical of adaptations and usually skip them altogether. I was swayed mostly by John Green’s own excitement. Had he not posted his experiences on set and been honest as to his feelings, I may have been more critical. He also reminded people that books and movies are two separate art forms.

    I love TFiOS (the book) and loved hearing my favorite lines on screen. I will see this multiple times and own it, for sure.

  2. Alison permalink
    June 11, 2014

    I’ve already seen it in theaters twice. Both times I tried to sit alone so I could be alone with my feelings, and both times people sat RIGHT next to me. The first time was fine…the lady and I ended up sharing tissues. Second time it was a high school couple who made out despite me throwing popcorn at them. Either way, I couldn’t stop the water works. I can’t wait till it comes out on DVD so I can finally watch it in solitude…but that won’t stop me from going to the theater a few more times.

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