Page to Screen: The Fault in Our Stars

***This review assumes you have read the book A Fault in Our Stars and may have spoilers if you haven’t.***

The Fault in Our Stars was one of the best books I read last year so I had high hopes that the movie would do the book justice. I was not disappointed.

When I heard that Shailene Woodley was cast as Hazel, I was concerned. I know her mostly from  the TV show The Secret Life of the American Teenager and I never thought she was very good in that. Granted, that may have been because of the material she was given to work with. However, her acting was great in this movie. She conveyed complex emotions through subtle facial expressions. I was impressed. Her haircut and wardrobe made her sufficiently dowdy like I pictured Hazel would be.

Ansel Elgort was a good choice for Gus, both in looks and attitude. I was also happy with the rest of the cast. I’m a fan of Mike Birbiglia and was surprised that he was in this movie. He turned out to be great as the cheesy support group leader Mike. And True Blood fans – Sam (Sam Trammell) plays Hazel’s dad!

The movie condensed the book in just the right way. Augustus still has some of his angsty, mature dialogue but not as much as in the book. I know some people thought the way he talked in the book was unrealistic. They will probably think the movie version is more believable. The one thing that bothered me is the stupid cigarette that Gus has dangling out of his mouth most of the time. I don’t remember it being as prominent in the book. Maybe I just didn’t visualize it when reading. Either way, I didn’t care for it. It’s supposed to be a metaphor but it seems like he depends on it as a comfort item, even though he never lights it of course. I remember the storyline with Hazel’s favorite author (played by the awesome Willem Dafoe) being kind of zany in the book and it was too much for me. It’s toned down nicely in the movie.

Even if you haven’t read the book, this is a fantastic movie. It’s a love story about two people who happen to have cancer. It’s not overly sentimental or trite. I give it two thumbs way up!