oung adult movies mean big business in Hollywood. Some of the top-grossing movies and film franchises of all time are geared towards the tween and teen demographic—and in the past two decades, inspiration has come from the YA bestsellers list.
“The Fault in Our Stars is one of these books.” It topped the Amazon and Barnes and Noble charts as a pre-order, and debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List for Children’s Chapter Books in January 2012. Its author John Green is an internet celebrity: his legion of fans, called Nerdfighters, are passionate in their admiration, his detractors equally rabid. Tumblr is their battleground of choice.
So it comes as no surprise that TFIOS is one of the most anticipated movies of 2014. Like teen movies before it, it’s about becoming the best person you can be, experiencing love for the first time, and dealing with the curveballs life throws at you. Unlike previous teen blockbusters, there’s nothing magical, supernatural, or herculean about its characters. They’re just a bunch of crazy kids who just happen to have “a touch of cancer.”
Book-to-film adaptations are notoriously difficult to navigate: staying true to the book may mean missing out on the added depth and dimension that an expanded movie universe can bring, while too many deviations from the story may alienate its original audience. Case in point: the movie tagline, “One sick love story,” was removed in later posters after Nerdfighters complained that it did not capture the essence of the story.
8List.ph caught a screening of “The Fault in Our Stars,” and here’s our diagnosis:
8. THE LANNISTER EFFECT
Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) bump into each other at a cancer support group for teens that meets “literally, in the heart of Jesus.” They have wildly different outlooks on life, but find themselves attracted to each other after a series of snarky quips. Woodley and Elgort banter easily onscreen and off, in part because they previously co-starred in another 2014 YA movie, Divergent, where they played…siblings. They actually look more alike as Hazel and Gus than they did as Beatrice and Caleb Prior.
Just take a deep breath, remember that you’re not watching Game of Thrones, and move on.
7. HOLLYWOOD HEALTHCARE
The movie doesn’t dwell as much on hospital visits and medical procedures as the book does, but then again, it doesn’t have the luxury of time to do so. Besides, it’s really about Hazel and Gus living life to the fullest, and what better way to project that than by showing them in their dewy, youthful glory?
6. CINEMATIC CONVERSATION
Dialogue set-pieces are lifted from the novel, cut down to movie length, of course, and occasionally taken out of the original context–but all changes were made to move the story forward. Even then, TFIOS clocks in at a lengthy 125 minutes.
(Pro-tip: if you hear a Nerdfighter complain mid-movie, it’s because a significant portion of backstory was taken out, along with all the poetry references. Don’t worry, the movie works perfectly well without it.)
5. SUPPORT GROUP SHENANIGANS
4. MOVIE MONTAGE, AMSTERDAM EDITION
3. ABSENT AUTHORS
2. MOOD MUSIC
With Green’s original dialogue and descriptions minimized, the movie’s cool teen vibe falls on the soundtrack. The scoring is maudlin, but the original songs contributed by Grouplove, Charli XCX, Birdy, and Ed Sheeran feel right at home on a typical teenaged girl’s Spotify playlist.
1. TEARS AND FEARS
So if that’s your jam, head to the theaters with a lot of tissue and be prepared to inundate your social media feeds with these hashtags: #yolo #feels #okay
What do you think about the adaptation? You haven’t seen it yet? It’s showing in theaters now and don’t forget to post your thoughts and feels in the Comments Section.