News Column

Refreshingly romantic and subdued drama

June 12, 2014

Laala Kashef Alghata

It is always difficult to watch a movie adaptation of a favourite book.

You walk in with many of your own preconceptions and ideas for what characters should look or act like.

If you are a pedantic, exacting sort of person about the storylines you love, then you may often walk out believing wholeheartedly that you would have been able to adapt the said novel much better than anyone involved in the production of the film.

Thankfully, this is not the case with The Fault in Our Stars.

Based on the bestseller by author John Green, it gained widespread coverage after Green chose to sign every copy of the first print run.

He was banking on his built-in base of "nerdfighters", a community that surrounds the videos he and his brother Hank make on YouTube as the Vlogbrothers.

However, it was soon apparent the book was gaining traction, and the movie rights were signed over to 20th Century Fox.

Relatively new director Josh Boone (Stuck in Love) was signed on, with a cast of young up-and-coming actors, including Shailene Woodley (playing Hazel Grace Lancaster), Ansel Elgort (August Waters) and Nat Wolff (Isaac) taking the lead roles.

They are supported by veteran actors Laura Dern (Frannie Lancaster), Sam Trammell (Michael Lancaster) and Willem Dafoe (Peter van Houten), which rounds off the cast beautifully.

The film manages to balance perfectly between being true to both the spirit and the letter of the book, while simultaneously adapting it to the screen and turning the story into something new.

Although, like the book, there are some moments that feel quite pretentious or overdrawn, overall it is refreshingly romantic and subdued.

Woodley is a sight to behold as Hazel, her emotions so vivid and affecting that I warrant most viewers will find her grief or sorrow difficult to watch.

It is also shot beautifully, on location, and Boone's ability to use close shots interposed with landscapes and architecture makes the viewer feel as if they are genuinely standing in the middle of the story.

A movie well worth the watch.

The Fault in Our Stars is now showing at Bahrain City Centre, Seef, Saar and Al Jazira cinemas and has a running time of 126 minutes.

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Source: Gulf Daily News (Bahrain)

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