Movie Title: The Fault in Our Stars
PG-13, 2 hours 5 minutes
In a Nutshell: I’m going to have to read this book. The movie is based on the #1 bestselling novel by John Green and only whets your appetite with meaty nuggets of wisdom about life and love. Get your tissues ready. The movie starts with Hazel Grace, a teenager who battles every day with lung cancer: “I believe we have a choice in this world about how to tell sad stories. One the one hand, you can sugar-coat it, the way they do in movies and romance novels for beautiful people to learn beautiful lessons, when nothing’s too messed up that can’t be fixed with an apology or a Peter Gabriel song. I like that version as much as the next girl does, believe me. It’s just not the truth. This is the truth. Sorry.”
• They say you can write your own eulogy. How? Write what you want to happen in your life and then live it.
• Death is unbearable, but so is living a life without love and less than what you are capable of.
• There is an honesty to the way people with incurable diseases live. Unlike the rest of us who pretend that we can have as many days and nights as we want, those who stare death in the face every day truly understand the value of time.
• The movie isn’t so much about dying, but living in the face of death and after a loved one dies.
Things I liked:
• As an author myself, I loved the part of the story that features Hazel Grace’s relationship with a writer of a book she is obsessed with. I love the title of the book “Imperial Affliction” and the fact that the story ends in the middle of a sentence. Hazel says “It’s so truthful. You just die. You die in the middle of a sentence.”
• I loved Augustus’ cigarette metaphor: “They don’t kill you unless you light them, and I’ve never lit one. It’s a metaphor. See, you put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing. A metaphor.” Not that I would go so far as to buy cigarettes to put between my lips, but I love the feeling of empowerment and defiance that image evokes.
• I loved seeing the bridges in Amsterdam that Hazel and Gus sailed underneath. It’s on my Bucket List.
• I thought it was cute that two of the couples in the movie have a word they lovingly repeated to each other like “always” or Hazel and Gus’ “OK.” One word can say so much.
• I liked Hazel and Gus’ conversation about believing in something after this life. Gus said he absolutely did…“Otherwise, what’s the point?”
• It’s always great to see Willem Dafoe in anything.
• There is warmth, humor, and honesty in the story-telling. Cancer weepies can often be too contrived and manipulative, but there is enough snark and wisdom in this film to pull it off.
Things I didn’t like:
• Only in Chick Flicks do teenage boys fall all over themselves to win a girl’s affection. Guys: take note…it works every time.
• The music tends to cue you on when to cry, but you do it anyway.
• Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I really hate watching pre-marital sex scenes. I also hate it when people make fun of well-intentioned Christians, like Hazel and Gus do in their cancer therapy session when their group leader starts singing to give them hope.
Did you know?
• The imaginative playground with the skeleton where Hazel and Gus have a picnic is actually located on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and is called “Funky Bones.”
• Dozens of web sites have been created by fans who want to continue talking about this book and movie.
• Sheilene Woodley (Hazel Grace) and Ansel Elgort (Augustus) did a fantastic job. They played brother and sister in Divergent and have great chemistry together. Sheilene admits they have more of a brother-sister relationship in real life…not romantic.
• “That’s the thing about pain: it demands to be felt.” - Augustus
• “I wouldn’t mind. It would be my privilege to have my heart broken by you.” - Augustus
• “I’m a grenade. One day I’m going to explode and obliterate everything in my wake and I don’t know…It’s just my responsibility to minimize the casualties.” - Hazel Grace
• “Everything’s coming up Waters.” - Hazel Grace
• “You two are so adorable.” - Mom
“We’re just friends.” - Hazel Grace
“Well, she is. I’m not.” – Augustus
• The waiter in the beautiful Amsterdam restaurant asked Hazel Grace and Gus “Do you know what Don Perignon said after he invented champagne?” “Come quickly! I’m tasting the stars!” The waiter then told them“We’ve bottled all the stars for you, my young friends.”
• “I want this Dragon Carrot Risotti to become a person so that I can take it to Vegas and marry it.” - Gus
• “You’re American.” - Van Houten’s assistant
“Incurably so.” - Author Peter Van Houten
• “You gave me a forever within a numbered days and, for that, I am eternally grateful.” - Hazel to Gus
• “If you want the rainbow, you have to deal with the rain.” - sign that hangs on Gus’ wall at home.
• “Funerals are not for the dead. They’re for the living.” - Hazel Grace
• “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have a say in who hurts you and I like my choices.” - Gus
• “I fell in love the way you fall asleep…slowly, then all at once.” - Hazel
• “Embrace your destiny and leave your mark on the world.” - Augustus
• “So yeah, that just happened. I’ve been trying to tell you… I’m kinda awesome.” - Augustus
• Hazel, Gus and Isaac egg a house and Hazel says “Guys, I think we should wait until it’s dark.” Gus reminds her that Isaac is blind and says “It’s all dark to Isaac.”
• Hazel asks Isaac, who just broke up with his girlfriend, “Do you want to talk about it?” His honest reply: “No, I just want to cry and play video games.”
Tips for parents: Pre-marital sex, groping, 1 F-bomb and some other profanity. The movie creates some good opportunities to talk to your children about:
• Terminal illness & lung diseases
• Anne Frank
• The Trolley Problem