By Lauren Del Turco
“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”
Sound familiar? If you follow any females on Facebook or Twitter or have ever spoken to a high school or college-aged girl, you’ve probably heard this quote or read it somewhere online.
That is exactly why I resisted reading The Fault in Our Stars until well after the film rendition hit theaters.
For once, peer pressure did me well. John Green’s novel was enchanting. His writing was casual enough that each page read like a conversation with a friend. But these casual words carried profound emotion, simultaneous light-as-air humor and crushing darkness.
Much like the protagonist Hazel’s quote about falling in love with fellow cancer-ridden teenager Augustus Waters, you fall in love with “The Fault in Our Stars” in such a way that you do not feel its presence until you are buzzed off champagne in Amsterdam with Hazel and Augustus just moments before Green drops the bomb that jolts the trajectory of the novel.
The characters are painfully real. The scenes are ordinary yet spectacular, and you leave the novel both full of immense love and leaden with sadness.
Once the novel had won me over, I was curious as to whether the film would be able to do the same. Yet again, I was pleasantly surprised. The film honored the casual intimacy of the novel. Hazel’s voice often narrated over the scenes, and the ordinary moments so beloved in the novel are maintained on-screen.
Shailene Woodley’s acting exceeded expectations, but Ansel Elgort embodied Augustus with such natural sincerity that his performance stood out among the rest. Elgort and Woodley’s chemistry was quirky and charmingly awkward.
One of the shining aspects of the film was its soundtrack. Subtle, a little unconventional and tasteful, the music complimented emotional moments without melodrama. The soundtrack reflected the tone of most of the film: understated. Little was over-acted or drawn out.
As with many other cases, the film didn’t quite live up to the novel. The novel’s narrative was too interior to translate perfectly to the screen. I was satisfied, as a fan of the novel, because of my familiarity with the characters. And thus my final advice: while the film does an adequate job, read the novel.