Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort ARE Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two teens who just happen to find each other at a cancer support group and fall in love. That’s about all you really need to know to see that this is not an easy love story. As a matter of fact, I’d say Fault is the new Notebook in terms of the cry factor. But that doesn’t make it any less lovely or enjoyable. And the beauty of the film is that it’s as effective as a feature as it is a novel. That’s a testament to Green’s source material and Director Josh Boone’s dedication to the right details.
First off, no one cries like Woodley. Some might argue she earned her first Oscar nomination for 2011’s The Descendants for crying underwater (UNDERWATER!) and she’s only honed those tears over the years. But Elgort stays in step with her emotionally too, which only adds to their romantic journey.
That journey sees Hazel and Gus go as far as Amsterdam to visit Hazel’s favorite author, Peter Van Houten, played by a spot-on Willem Dafoe. Laura Dern is also a standout as Hazel’s mom (another great actress who wears her best emotions on her sleeve). But Nat Wolff as Gus’s best friend, Isaac, is pretty fantastic himself in a movie filled with some all-around great performances.
The Fault in Our Stars ranks among the best of this new mini renaissance of YA novels-to-films (not centered around future dystopian trilogies) that also includes 2012’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Woodley’s other great performance in 2013’s The Spectacular Now. Just don’t forget the tissues.
The Fault in Our Stars is now playing in theaters.