I avoided reading the novel of this film because of the hype around it - I don’t enjoy young adult fiction that sugar coats tough subjects just to get “oh it’s so sad therefore it’s so good” reactions.
John Greene is like the Nicolas Sparks of young adult fiction where there's some soppy unrealistic love story plus a terminal illness. I expected much the same from the film.
But I liked it. I liked it very much. It was sad and I watched it with my mum and I tried not to cry. like a big fat baby.
It was definitely predictable. You know something awful is going to happen pretty much straight away. But I found myself hoping that it didn’t happen (it had to happen; if it didn’t, this would be a very different review).
Hazel Grace (Shailene Woodley) is a sixteen-year-old terminal cancer patient who is forced to go to a support group by her parents. At the support group she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a seventeen-year-old amputee who has survived cancer.
They become friends and fall in love. Towards the end of the film, Augustus reveals his cancer has relapsed and he dies.
Right from the beginning you knew that either Hazel or Augustus was going to die. There wouldn’t have been a story otherwise. But it gutted me. The chemistry between Woodley and Elgort was excellent and they both can act like nobody’s business.
I have new respect for Woodley (especially after Divergent, yuck), and some of her scenes when she gets upset and yells and cries definitely struck a chord. Elgort played his character with perfect charm and wit, and just the right amount of cockiness that made him funny.
I’m trying to think of flaws, besides its predictability. The parents play minor background characters that don't contribute much to the story line; they are kind of there just for show.
Some of the rubbish that comes out of Augustus’ mouth is cheesy as hell and it took me a while to stop rolling my eyes, but then I remembered I’m 29 and am far more cynical than the typical 15-year-old that these movies are aimed at.
The film ends nicely; I wasn’t quite sure how they would do it but I think they did a good job, and I’d quite like to know what happened to Hazel Grace. The movie has made me want to read the book, in the hopes that there may be a sequel (although that surely would ruin it).