Tom Basham

The Fault in Our Stars

In This Just OUT on June 14, 2014 at 9:29 pm

fault-our-stars-movie-posterYou would have to know Shakespeare to understand “The Fault in Our Stars.” Since he and I are fraternity brothers, I can explain it to you.

Hazel’s (Shailene Woodley from “Divergent”) cancer arrived in elementary school so she’s been fighting it for a decade. Still, she is dying, and her parents force her to go to a support group, as if being around other terminal adolescents will cheer her up. She meets Gus (Ansel Elgort from “Divergent”) and he falls in love with her across the serenity circle. Cancer took most of his leg but none of his spirit or his quest to do something amazing with his shortened life.

Hazel’s favorite book ends in mid sentence, and she makes Gus read it as a test of his character. More than anything Hazel wants to know what happens to the people in the book. Gus just wants to know Hazel and make her smile.

A ticking clock is a clever story telling device to create tension, but here it’s their actual heartbeats that we hear getting weaker and weaker. The critically crushed on novel by John Green did not make my reading and weeping list, but young director, Josh Boone (“Stuck in Love”) has made it into a fine movie. It’s not about death or cancer. It’s about these kids and how they write their own life story.

Like my fellow writer Shakespeare said, “The play is the thing,” and for him it was a device to reveal the truth. This movie shows us what these kids and their parents face and how they live with it. That is the point – that they live, and they love and they throw eggs at a girls car that jilted their friend.

I did not want to see this movie. Watching kids with cancer did not sound like a good way to spend two hours, but this movie sucked me in. A little subtlety, some raw moments and the complete avoidance of anything cliché’ kept me intrigued and entertained. Like Hazel, I wanted to see how the story ended, and I started to believe that Gus was going to do something awe inspiring.

I admit I thought this was going to be like an “after school special” but it wound up being closer to “Terms of Endearment.” For that reason, I must give this movie 4 out 5 stars, and it’s not my fault if you wind up crying your eyes out at the end. I think I must be coming down with a sinus infection.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site:


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