The Fault In Our Stars (2014): Okay If Not Good

The unwillingness of a movie to bend for premature respect from easily fooled moviegoers is a trait that makes it stand out. Josh Boone-directed “The Fault in our Stars” is a major motion picture, and while it still has plenty of inauthentic shades of histrionic fervor, it manages to present an uncontrived plot treatment and characters that feel real albeit a little too likeable to draw a connection from. Shailene Woodley takes her character from “The Spectacular Now” and harnesses it to maturity and replaces its ultra(dumb)niceness with sharpness, and borrows the unflinching but vulnerable strength of her character from “The Descendants.” She delivered awesome as always.

The movie could use some more despondency as it is a little too bright even in its dramatic scenes, but I suspect it’s deliberately that way to fend for the target demographic. It’s a small issue, and doesn’t really affect the overall movie that much, so it’s okay. I guess. Maybe.

“You are a side effect of an evolutionary process that cares little for individual lives. You are a failed experiment in mutation.”

I have a thing for cynicism more than the tear-jerking stuff that I must admit I also have a soft spot for. While bawling in the movies makes me feel good on the inside, it’s the face-slapping truths that give grounding and a clearer perspective on a version of humanity that is untethered by chains of sentimentality and cinema magic. The quote above is from novelist Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe) — directed mean-spiritedly at cancer-stricken Hazel (Woodley). The scene makes you want to gut Peter, but what he said has stuck with me even after leaving the theater. I don’t want to think I’m grasping at straws by saying it doesn’t apply only to people diagnosed with grave illnesses. I believe we are all literally and metaphorically under repair, and the world doesn’t really give a shit if we drop off the face of the earth in the process. Nothing is ever personal and as Gus puts it, “the world is not a wish-granting factory”, so we should stop being so fucking sensitive. The movie is a good cry-fest, but the skepticism found in some characters pushes it a step further from the teen flicks that are plagued by schmaltz and coming-of-age contrivances.

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2 thoughts on “The Fault In Our Stars (2014): Okay If Not Good

  1. Buhawi says:

    Maybe ‘Okay’ means ‘Always’, I guess? Chos! Don’t mind the cheesy part. I know It’s not really the movie you’ve been expecting or impresses you but being with a beautiful woman makes it worth watching. yeah yeah… The movie never tries to win our tears or laughter. For me it’s simple yet profound that no matter how hard we try to be who we want us to be (like being a healthy baby, cancer free or side effect of an evolutionary process), we are destined to be that way and you just have to accept it and somehow our decision matters that has a great impact to the people around us and especially to ourselves. It’s like we are given an equation to be solved we can try different solutions and hoping we get the right answer. Wrong gramming!

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