“The Fault in Our Stars” is winning market share at the box office these days. This film, based on the novel by John Green, is immensely popular with young adults and teenagers. Yet, the story has a message for anyone with a tender heart who has wondered at the “fairness” of terminal cancer, or of any death that cuts short a life. Rather than being depressing, this movie takes viewers on an uplifting journey.
Movie poster for ‘The Fault in Our Stars.’ Courtesy/Reel Deal Theater
Hazel Grace Lancaster is 16 when she meets 18-year-old Augustus Waters at a cancer support group for young people. She is weary from battling cancer and living with an oxygen tank since being diagnosed at the age of 13. Hazel’s sense of identity is understandably muddled in that battle. She lives with the knowledge that she is dying and she is jaded about the life she sees around her.
That is, until Gus presents her with an alternate reality. He wants to know who she is outside of the story of her cancer. Gus, you see, has battled cancer, too, and lost most of a leg to it.
Hazel and Gus share their favorite books, text each other and offer mutual support. “Just friends” eventually becomes a deep connection and true love, an “infinity” as Hazel puts it. “You gave me a forever within the numbered days,” she tells him.
This is a story with class ─ Real kids dealing with real pain and mortality. It’s a story without much schmaltz. The message is clear: to have the privilege of loving and being loved creates for us a timelessness by which we rise above the number of our days on this earth. Love creates a “forever” for us, beyond our mortal existence.
Shailene Woodley (The Descendents) and Ansel Elgort, who play brother and sister in “Divergent” are boyfriend and girlfriend in this film. As usual, Woodley does not disappoint. And Elgort is sincere in his character. Laura Dern and Sam Trammell play Hazel’s very wise, if war weary parents. Willhem Dafoe… well never mind his character. Amsterdam plays a role in the film, as well as Anne Frank. You’ll have to see how.
The movie is rated PG-13 for a bit of strong language and for the inevitable scene where two teens embark on losing their virginity; fortunately, we are spared the details and it is tastefully done. Adults, regardless of your age or gender, this film is worth your time.
I leave you with two quotes, one from the film: “That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.” The other: Act I, Scene II of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…”