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The Fault In Our Stars

I decided to go to the cinema with my nieces, a rare event nowadays and probably our last chance to do so as I’m getting married and moving away. This has no real baring on the review, other than to say this film was their choice rather than mine. I’ve heard quite a bit about this film, and despite the fact I’ve heard it was very good it would not have been my first choice of film. If you’ve been paying attention then you probably know the subject matter of the film already, if not I’ll explain a little and try not to be too spoiler-y.

The film begins with Hazel Grace telling us how films are soppy and contain wonderful times and have happy endings, but this isn’t that sort of film. You see Hazel Grace is being told she’s depressed and depression is a side effect of the cancer she has had since she was 13, her lungs are damaged and she carts an oxygen cylinder around with her, so she says “depression isn’t a side effect of cancer, it’s a side effect of dying.” Given all of this her mother has decided to get her to a support group, which she doesn’t like but being a dying kid “I did it for the same reason I do most things, to keep those around me happy.” and this is where she bumps in to Augustus Waters (Gus), a cancer survivor who teachers her to live, or something.

Now being someone with a life limiting condition, someone who never expected to live to the age of 18, never mind 32, I have to say there were moments in this film that really hit close to home for me. I don’t have cancer but I do have bad lungs and I’ve felt a lot of those emotions. The scene where she has to climb a lot of stairs because there’s no lift, and she’s determined to do this and make the most of her holiday, that is a scene that I feel like I have played out in my own life and that was almost physically painful to watch for me. Now the most schmaltzy and stupid scene happens a few minutes later that takes that right away but for those few minutes I was right there with her.

There are some nice scenes there that touch on what it means to be dying and know it, or be around someone who is dying. How people cope with the loss of a loved one and fail to cope. For a teen film it handles most of this very well. It has its downsides but on the whole it serves its role well, managing the shifts between happy, smiley and heart wrenching pain. So on the whole I would recommend it, if you’re in the mood for that sort of thing, and add in the caveat that it does contain some button pushing scenes for those who may suffered similar illness or the loss of loved ones in similar circumstances.

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