By Ryan Milowicki
Is there any more difficult task in film than adapting a wildly successful novel?
From the necessary creative constraints to the rabid desires and expectations of the book’s fanbase, turning a page-turner into a equally moving film is a monumental undertaking. In adapting John Green’s romance-first, cancer drama-second bestseller, Stuck In Love director Josh Boone does a lot of things right in bringing the moving story of Hazel Lancaster to the big screen.
Sharing the book’s dual presence of humor and tearjerking, The Fault In Our Stars uses editorial choices which highlight the top-notch acting in a film sure to please the most avid fans of Green’s work. Capturing the themes of dealing with loss and the ability of love to trump most worldly concerns, the movie induces just as many well-earned laughs as shed Kleenex (and there were many to be shed, believe me).
As Hazel and Augustus’ budding relationship and bonding over their shared cancer experiences take them from Indianapolis to Amsterdam and back again, their story unfolds in a way which is equal parts authentic and romantic, a duality which is becoming less and less frequent in mainstream Hollywood. This believable nature shines through even though the vast majority of Green’s verbose dialogue is used to full effect (as words like ‘hamartia’ are casually thrown around in longer-than-usual bouts of soliloquy). In most other circumstances, strict adherence to the source material renders is a difficult proposition at best, as what looks good in print often doesn’t translate well on the screen. Chalk the victory of the screenplay up to the young leads, who create personalities so vibrant and unique that the atypical teenage dialogue they swap sounds perfectly fine to us.
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