The Fault in our Stars Review

Posted on Jun 10 2014 - 9:09am by Kara Tippetts

A kind group of women joined me last night for a big cry. With tests approaching, I have been feeling all the edges. I felt like a big cry was in order. I knew enough about this movie to know it would deliver. I had not read the book, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect- I just knew it was about cancer. So I was fairly certain someone would be dying.

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This movie is really about the love story of Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters. They sweetly use full names in such endearing ways. This movie had a lot of special moments, and I was watching particularly to see if I would want Ella to see this movie- as she’s asked. I also think this is the first movie to include texting in a meaningful way. Texting is how so many communicate, and they appropriately included that interaction.

My friends and I remained an hour after the movie and cried, laughed and discussed what we did and did not like about the movie. First- we all saw real genuine strength in the acting. These certainly could not be easy roles, and one would expect over acting, but they handled the subject well. We all really appreciated the acting.

As someone in this battle, I was particularly pleased that they didn’t deal with treatment extensively through the movie. I remember my sister in law telling me as a nurse she can’t watch hospital drama scenes. She says they are often terribly misrepresented. So I know I would have felt that way about cancer ¬†treatment scenes. They were there, but in simple ways, they were not the focus. There wasn’t a moment where I thought-“it’s not like that” I really related to the part where the young woman with cancer said she felt like she was a grenade. Where she knew she would one day explode and leave casualties. She was withdrawing from relationships to keep the casualties at a minimum. I feel that temptation, but I fight that temptation.

All of us watching were sad that the hope of heaven or faith played such a small role. So this movie leaves one with little hope in that department. My friend Cristy said- once she realized that would not be there, she was sad, but then simply let herself enjoy the sweet love story.

The character of August Waters is delightful, tender, and charming in every way. They cast these two well. There was an awkward kissing scene in the Anne Frank house that felt awkward and inappropriate given where they were. And there is also a sex scene I would be uncomfortable for Ella to see.

All of us agreed there were strong moments throughout the movie- especially with the parents of Hazel Grace. They articulated love well, and share hard together. The quote “pain demands to be felt” was a threaded theme throughout the movie. I really appreciated it. The idea that pain isn’t avoided or wrong, but felt and walked through.

I remember when I was a teen I loved seeing sad movies- loved it. Something seemed real about books that dealt with death. Bridge to Teribithia, Phildelphia, Michael Keaton’s movie called MY life, Untamed Heart. If a movie was sad- I was there. So I understand why so many are heading to see this movie. It makes you think, helps you cry, and makes you wonder over big life questions. It demands you to ask- what is it all about?

I did enjoy this movie, it didn’t answer any big questions of death or heaven, but it certainly makes you leave asking them, and in that I think it’s redemptive. The four of us sat after and laughed and cried through our thoughts about the movie. I cried at moments that weren’t particularly sad. There was a moment where the mama was looking proud upon her daughter dressed beautifully for her date. I cried then. Cried for that moment I long for with my kids, but it wasn’t a sad moment- simply sad for me.

You must decide for yourself if you want to see this movie. If you do take a child with you, I would highly suggest a coffee date after to process all that this movie brings to the surface. I don’t think sad should be avoided, but I certainly feel it deserves to be discussed and hope introduced in heaven and grace.

I don’t think my girl is ready for this, but we did talk about a few old movies that discuss the theme of dying well. Remember the movie A Walk to Remember. I think I might dig that up for Ella and I to watch together. Sometimes a movie helps us cry in the deep recesses of heart that need to be released.

I once loved to cry in movies- loved it, but now I live on the cliff of despair. I have to protect my heart from falling in the chasm of fear and despair. Having my friends with me last night made all the difference. At one point, one friend braved tears and shared her heart and love with me in a way that was such a gift. The movie gave her courage to share her heart. The movie encouraged that- share before death. Isn’t that beautiful. Don’t wait until someone dies to express your heart and feelings.

Those are my thoughts- I’m not sure if it helps. I’m glad I went, but more glad for the friends that walk with me through this. That is what made the movie bearable.

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Challies wrote a review that I think is worth your time if you are considering watching this moving. 

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this movie. Are you going? Or is it too close, too hard?

4 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Jane June 10, 2014 at 11:22 am - Reply

    I cried throughout this film, but like you, not in the expected places. I cried at the tender moments between people who loved each other.

    The dinner scene in Amsterdam was sweet and loving, and I loved what Augustus said to Hazel. I wept as they climbed the stairs in the Frank home, but not because of the characters, but because of the necessity of hiding a beautiful family in order to save them. And then ultimately, only Mr. Frank survived.

    I loved the scene after the funeral when Hazel’s dad sat on the floor with her. His tender words about her loss helped her understand the depth of love a parent has for their child.

    People in the theater laughed when Isaac started breaking all the trophies. I assumed they had not read the book….otherwise this scene would not have elicited such a response. I cried here too.

    I went with a friend who took her 12 year old daughter and her friend. The girls quietly got up and left the theater during the love scene. When it was over, my friend went to get them. This made me cry, because it showed the love and sensitivity between a mother and daughter, and it was obvious that they had talked about the fact that it was too mature for the young girls.

    I also liked that the movie didn’t attempt to portray how debilitating the disease of cancer is. I think this left the door open for it to be a true love story between beautiful young people.

    I had read the book with a group of teenage girls. We were thrilled that the movie was true to the book. Hats off to author John Green who gave young readers, and the rest of us, the gift of a meaningful and loving look into a difficult but all to common life experience.

  2. Samantha June 10, 2014 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this review. I just read the book and many of Hazel’s thoughts reminded me of some of your honest confessions and apologies for causing pain.

    I, too, was sad for the lack of an eternal hope, but was touched by the honesty of the journey. My five-year-old daughter is almost 1 year cancer free and we lived in a facility for part of her treatment with other cancer families.

    One reason I would encourage teens (with guidance) to consider this story (maybe the book, the love scene was subtle) is to understand how lonely and abandoned most teens with cancer are left because of their disease. Most teens don’t have the endurance to stick it out and we heard many teens express that cancer also took their friends.

    I really loved the honesty in the story…honest confessions, not glossed over and not necessarily angry, but truthful. Taken to the cross, these confessions and commentaries are redeemed and life is found in the hurt.

    Thanks for writing about the movie!

  3. Lynn June 10, 2014 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    I took my daughter, who turned 12 on Saturday, and was not expecting that love scene. We both loved the movie and the love between these 2. It showed how sincere and kind a man can be to a woman and the importance of love and relationships to those who are hurting and facing death.
    I am very emotional and cry very easy and was very surprised that I did not cry much. Without giving too much away about the movie I had tears when the unexpected guest (if you saw it you know who I am talking about) showed up at the funeral.

  4. Mary June 12, 2014 at 11:21 am - Reply

    I liked very much that this movie portrayed life with cancer, but didn’t dwell on the things many of us don’t want to dwell on. I liked the weightiness of the issues of pain and honesty and loyalty and longing. As the movie ended and I drove home debating if it was something I would want my almost 14-year old to see, that is when I cried. I cried all the way home. I cried because these 2 young people were where most of our society is – facing really hard things in life, even death, without anyone there to provide wisdom and truth about spiritual things. Millions of young people are excited about this movie – and most of them will marvel at the “deep thoughts” that Augustus and Hazel express about life after death, without realizing that it boils down to I think there will be oblivion and this life is all that matters (Hazel), and I think there will be something but I don’t know what (Augustus). The parents in this movie were obviously good parents – loving to each other and their children, faithful, wise, and deliberate. But they had no eternal truth to offer, and the scene at Augustus’ funeral where Hazel “just tells them what they need to hear”, implying that she knows more than the adults, but needs to humor them like children – that is where I began crying, tho it took the drive home to process why. It is such a common theme in YA movies and books to show that adults do not have the answers that teens need. This movie didn’t exactly do that – it was obvious that Hazel turned to her parents for support and encouragement, and relied upon them. Their relationship was beautiful to watch. But when it came to spiritual matters, even tho the theme is carried out with more depth and beauty, it’s still there – Hazel and Augustus’ conclusions about after life are portrayed as something to be reasoned out as teenagers, on their own, superior to anything the church has to offer, and satisfying enough for them to face death with peace and the smile on Hazel’s face at the close of the movie.
    I wish I could put a voice to this, so that you would know I am saddened, not acrimonious, as I’m typing this. I saw this last night, and it still haunts me today in broad daylight. The fool says in his heart there is no God, but this movie presented that idea as wisdom discovered by truly lovable, thoughtful people made wise by their nearness to death. It breaks my heart to think that too many young adults will watch this and NOT ask questions after, but rather find their views sufficient and validated. Sometimes the more poignantly a wrong idea is presented, the less wrong it seems, and the more dangerous it is. God bless and protect the young people who this movie was intended for.

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