I’m always unexcited about silver screen love stories. They’re just pretty people drowning in cliches and cheesy dialogue. I wasn’t excited when I entered the cinema 2 showing The Fault In Our Stars. Not excited when I sat down. I was sipping my chocolate milkshake thru the trailers without excitement. And in this lack of excitement, I forgot to strap on my seatbelt. This emotional rollercoaster is just so damn softening that I had to watch a copy of 300: Rise of an Empire a day after to balance the feels.
I had zero idea of what this film is about prior to watching it. Total info blackout. And it actually helped me enjoy the movie more. For the uninitiated, The Fault in Our Stars is about the love story of two cancer patients (not survivors) uniting in their mutual struggle against time, and the physical and emotional pain brought by this illness.
If you haven’t watched it yet, I recommend that you go see it right now. By the next paragraph, you would probably lose all appetite for it.
And now to justify the title of this post, let’s start with the spoilers. THE BOY DIES FIRST. Yeah. Yeah you read that right. Actually, it’s kinda pretty obvious that there will be casualties before the end credits roll, and that’s what makes this movie more interesting than the others of its genre. It’s not the typical love flick that make ladies swoon and cure men’s insomnias; it also tackles how all humans eventually succumb to the universal disease known as ‘mortality’, and why it shouldn’t matter anyway.
Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster (If I can still remember the names of the characters in the film the next day, it was a great film for me) both knew that they were going to die. Their families know about it as well. Their friends aren’t left out on this info either. They know that someday soon, they would be gone and everyone around them would be hurt. Cancer is just so horrible, and I really hope the conspiracy that the cure has already been found but purposefully hidden because the health industry profits more from chemotherapy is just a lie.
In the film, you can see just how strong the bond is between them and their families. In one scene, Hazel’s father said that they want to leave her in the streets because they’re not sentimental people, and that he’s serious. She just smiled. I loved that scene. Those were very harsh words, but behind them were I love you’s incredibly more sincere than how people say it today. And Hazel knows it.
One perk of a known lifespan is that although you live shorter than most people, at least you can try and live more. This may have been the only couple I know, albeit fictional, that didn’t fight even once. He is an accomplished athlete pre-leg surgery, and she visited Disneyland and met with her ex-idolised author. Both toured Amsterdam. Did I also mention love-making? Of course there’s going to be sex in it; it’s a teen romance story! That being said, it’s not the lusty and rash kind you see in other films. It was actually cute. A cute bed scene. Never thought it can be described like that.
Another spoiler to share, the scene I found most hilarious is when the Cancered couple went to visit Peter Van Houten, the author if the fictional book “Imperial Affliction” which both read and loved. He looks very estranged and weird, almost stereotypical of writers. He was being inquired for a more acceptable ending for his book (which btw ended in the middle of a sentence), and for some reason decides to blast swedish hip hop in the room, giving Hazel the need to verbally flip him off. I kinda liked Van Houten, even though he was a douchepants. I pitied him a bit when she wouldn’t give him a chance at redemption at Augustus’ funeral.
The film is as philosophical as it is heartwarming and heartbreaking. Pain demands to be felt. There is a lot of wisdom to pick up. I never would have guessed that I’d be a learned man by the end of the film. The life lessons are worth remembering, even if I’m not cursed with the Big-C.
My friend asked how I interpreted the title “The Fault in Our Stars.” I think it’s because they didn’t choose that life, but they decide to live with it anyway. How about you? Do you have your own explanation?
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