Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Nikki Finke Returns Nikki Finke Returns Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A)

'The Fault in Our Stars' Review and Roundup: Shailene Woodley Carries Manipulative Weepie

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 4, 2014 at 1:52PM

Trust me: when it opens Friday 'The Fault in Our Stars' will be review proof. It matters not a whit what any of us have to say about Josh Boone's four-hankie tragic romance based on social media star John Green's bestselling Young Adult novel. Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber of "(500) Days of Summer" fame faithfully adapted the book, but this is a case where I wanted to see the authentic indie version of the film.
4
'The Fault in Our Stars'
'The Fault in Our Stars'

Trust me: when it opens Friday 'The Fault in Our Stars' will be review proof. It matters not a whit what any of us have to say about Josh Boone's four-hankie tragic romance based on social media star John Green's bestselling Young Adult novel. Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber of "(500) Days of Summer" fame faithfully adapted the book, but this is a case where I wanted to see the authentic indie version of the film. 

This is a manipulatively fake studio movie all the way, anchored and saved by star Shailene Woodley's inability to be inauthentic. She is the real thing as Hazel, an 18-year-old thyroid cancer patient with weak lungs coping with being permanently ill--with breathlessness and death hovering around the corner. She is genuine and moving. In fact she is so strong that the Oscar nomination that eluded her for "The Descendants" may be in the offing--unless critics dump all over the movie. 

The rest of the cast-- including young discovery Ansel Elgort as a fellow cancer sufferer who is the object of her affections-- is not so convincing. Laura Dern can survive anything, as does Willem Dafoe as a jaded writer the young lovers admire, who brings a welcome dose of nastiness to this otherwise cloying drama. 

Early trade reviews follow: 

Variety's Andrew Barker calls the film a career best for Woodley:

[The Fault in Our Stars] walks a knife’s edge between heart-on-sleeve sensitivity and crass exploitation for its entire running time, and the fact that it largely stays on the right side of that divide has to mark it as a success. Soulfully acted, especially by a never-better Shailene Woodley, and several degrees smarter than most films aimed at teenagers, this Fox melodrama ought to strike a resonant chord with young audiences.

Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter highlighted the strength of the film's source material:

The greatest strengths of the film clearly come from Green’s novel, which resolutely refuses to become a cliched cancer drama, creating instead two vibrant, believable young characters filled with humor and intelligence, both facing complex questions and issues unimaginable even to people twice their age. Turning the screenwriting over to adaptation experts Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber has preserved the distinctly literate tone of the book, even if they do occasionally deliver scenes that feel overwrought.

Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson wrote that he's "worried for our teens":

Are Augustus and Hazel the cutest couple in the whole wide world? For the time being, they sure are. Does the movie elicit blubbery tears in a way that’s both sloppily big-hearted and almost cruelly precise? Yep, it most certainly does. So much so that I am genuinely nervous about what is going to happen in movie theaters across the nation come Friday. Maybe not since Titanic has a movie threatened to so thoroughly burrow itself into young hearts only to beautifully break them by the end credits. (Or, really, about a half an hour before the end credits.) Look out for a mighty deluge of teen tears flooding multiplexes this weekend, which will be well-earned by this clever, attractive, sad little movie.

This article is related to: The Fault in Our Stars, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe, Reviews, Reviews


E-Mail Updates






Festivals on TOH