contains some spoilers but you should know the story by now
I FINALLY watched TFIOS last night, and let me tell you now, it was awful.
Not awful as in it is an awful adaptation; awful as in the only other movie I cried watching in the cinema was Harry Potter DH2, because come now, which 90’s child doesn’t cry at that film!? I rarely cry while watching movies; much to the dismay of some, I have never cried watching The Notebook, Titanic, or other major tear-jerkers (aside from Moulin Rouge. God, that film hits me right in the feels…)
TFIOS is beautiful as a novel, and brilliant as a film.
It’s all okay…
I was a partial emotional wreck watching TFIOS last night; I say partial, as I must admit, my expectations were really not set all that high at all. I had read the book while sitting on a beach last year, drinking an endless supply of piña colada (honestly I’m surprised the hotel staff didn’t just hook me up to a piña colada IV by the end of the week) and it ruined me. I was choking back tears for most of it, before finally let the emotional dam fully crack open and allowing the tears to flow.
Okay it wasn’t quite like that, I just silently let a few tears roll, clutching my kindle (I dislike kindle’s, however I bought one to save luggage space) and another piña colada.
I was torn between telling everyone to read it, and telling NO one else I knew to read it. I wanted to share the experience and have everyone read those beautiful words, but then I couldn’t help feeling a little possessive over it – what if my friends didn’t like it, and just slammed the book in front of me, telling me that it was pure crap? I would have retaliated and punched them, to put it simply.
That’s why it was a massive gamble for me to go see it with one of my friends – who had not read the book. Over dinner before the movie, she explained how she dislikes John Green’s writing style, his storylines, and his characters. Instantly I regretted my decision to see the film with her; I didn’t want her to be bored to death, or even worse MOCK the storyline to the novel that pierced through my icy heart! I just decided that it had been a long enough time for me not to have seen it, and rationally agreed with myself that she’s not that much of a bitch to slam the storyline; she knew how much I loved it…
At the start of the movie, I suddenly found myself more anxious than excited – what if it was like one of those shite pre-teen movies, and put ALL the focus on Hazel & Augustus’ love story? Yes, it is a love story, but their illness plays a much bigger part and just intensifies everything. What if that didn’t translate well as a film? What if the cancer was hardly touched upon, and just thrown in as a last minute thought? Could the film really live up to the brilliance of the novel? All these questions flew through my head and it took me about fifteen minutes to just get over it and settle in to the film.
I’m so glad I did.
It was at first a bit awkward. It can be a bit difficult to get used to the language John Green uses, and the way he words sentences, and this style was kept the same in the script. It’s only a bit difficult because no one actually talks like that in real life.
I slipped into it quickly enough, casually glancing at my friend to make sure she was enjoying herself. She looked a bit bored at the start to be honest. But that soon changed…
I’m not sure what scene pulled her in, but by the time the first exchange of “okay” came, I freaked out with the feels and she aggressively whispered out “oh god, fuck this film!” From that moment on, she was completely hooked. SUCCESS!
I personally really enjoyed the film. I say that now, but it could change – that happens quite a lot, where once the initial shock of “OMG MOVIE!!!” subsides, I start to notice all the big flaws that my fangirl side hid from my rational side. That hasn’t happened so much so far; I don’t know how the movie could be made better. It really is so very well directed, and I actually really enjoyed the cute graphics showing all their messages to each other!
One thing that kind of irritated me was that I didn’t think Peter Van Houten was annoying enough. It was painful having to read him in the novel, because he’s such an ugly character, and I was just waiting for that to come across on-screen as intense as the novel. Obviously his speech to Hazel was awful, but I just feel that having him attend Gus’ funeral and literally giving her her eulogy just slightly redeemed a character who shouldn’t have been redeemed. Van Houten remains an asshole in the book because he barely changed; he continued on as a drunk recluse, not giving a damn about anyone else even after the funeral – he was more pathetically irritating. His attending Gus’ funeral to hand Hazel her eulogy made me pity rather than hate him, and I’m not so sure that was a good thing. There doesn’t need to be a happy ending for all, and while the ending of this story is in no way “happy” it ends so much more uplifting than a tragedy. I just think the asshole nature of Van Houten should’ve been kept – that was a cliche movie ending for him which isn’t at all justified.
The movie remains almost true to the novel, and for that I’m glad. It wasn’t a loose adaptation, it was a total adaptation! And that’s what we like!
The whole thing had me emotionally vulnerable; because of the storyline that I already knew, I knew what I was getting myself into. When Augustus’ illness gets worse and he calls Hazel – that scene felt like a punch to the gut. It was awful having to watch it.
The “pre-funeral eulogy” scene saw my first full on tears. Before that point I managed to blink it all away, and quickly wipe away the one tear that managed to escape. Isaac’s beautiful “I don’t wanna see a world without Augustus Waters” saw my brave face crumble as I quietly sobbed. There was far too much pain and emotion in that speech, which inevitably meant that my heart would shatter for Hazel’s turn.
I no longer cared about hiding my feels for the last bit of the film; when I wanted to cry, I did. The lights suddenly came on the at the end and there was a mad scramble as everyone reached up to quickly wipe their tear-soaked faces before anyone could see them. It was beautiful.
I very strongly recommend this novel and movie to you all. It honestly is a different twist on standard heart-break teenage novels (like freaking Twilight.) The novelty hasn’t worn off for me yet, and I can’t fault the novel very much at all. With Twilight, I read the whole series in a week, fell in love with it, then hated it two weeks later. The ONLY thing that sets Twilight apart from other teen romance fiction is that the depressed girl’s love interest is a sparkly vampire who doesn’t even behave like an actual vampire.
The Fault In Our Stars is not yet disliked by me. Hazel Grace Lancaster is a refreshing character, now that Bella Swan is finally gone from the world. I love reading John Green novels even though it’s guaranteed that it will make me emotional, and will cause me to shed a tear or two.
So please, start reading his work. It’s amazing.