May 19, 2014

Recap: The Fault in Our Stars Movie Screening

Before the movie
On the day that the stops for Demand Our Stars (The Fault in Our Stars tour with John Green, Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, and Nat Wolff) was announced and Washington wasn't on the list, I was very disappointed...and getting over a nasty flu. (Especially since Washington was constantly in and out of fourth place.) But then I saw a tweet about a screening for The Fault in Our Stars in Seattle (for SIFF, the Seattle International Film Festival), and, well...

(Yes, I did spend $25.00 plus a small one-something fee a ticket so I could see The Fault in Our Stars three weeks early.)

But really, how could I not? I mean, I LOVED the book, I own one of the Hot Topic shirts (so far), I also bought the paperback with the movie cover, I bought the issue of Entertainment Weekly with Shailene and Ansel on the cover, I spent $25.00 for one of the huge movie posters, I've considered a TFiOS tattoo...and you get the picture. So YES, I spent some money on this! (Plus like $15 for parking.)

Before I knew it, the day finally arrived and my cousin Nikki and I could FINALLY SEE The Fault in Our Stars! (You've seen the trailer, yes?)

So we got to Seattle (traffic wasn't too bad), found the theatre and a place to park, then waited in line to go inside!

(You can kinda see my "okay" shirt!)

Once we went inside, we found seats in the balcony area. Now, the Egyptian Theatre wasn't like a movie theater. (For one, it was built in 1915.) It wasn't cozy, it was cold (I was shaking with my legs up on the chair like the entire time), and the seats were wooden. All that was a weeeee bit distracting.

Before the movie started Nikki went to go get some food and drinks, and then she sent me THIS TEXT:

"The lady from the movie is here!"

I knew there was some thing/honor happening with Laura Dern (she plays Hazel's mom in the movie), but I didn't know SHE WOULD ACTUALLY BE THERE. So I had to sit there, debating if I should go see what was happening since Nikki walked RIGHT PAST HER, but then the lights dimmed. There was a little SIFF intro, and then a guy from SIFF, Isaac Klausner (TFiOS producer), and Laura Dern introduced the movie.

And was movie time.

The Movie

Full Disclosure: I'm horrible at judging movies when I read--and loved, really--the book first. And it's hard for me to really LOVE the movie. So this is my best judgement!

There was a certain point during The Fault in Our Stars when I started hearing sniffles throughout the theatre. (And after the movie, my cousin said she could hear me sobbing. Whatever. I heard her crying, too.)

While there were some scenes altered and missing (one that I really, liked, too) from the book, and some characters missing, too, The Fault in Our Stars was pretty gosh dang close to the book. It's a morbid story that isn't morbid. (Until, well, YOU KNOW.) Until a certain point, The Fault in Our Stars--both book and movie--has, for the most part, a light, witty feel, and that really is because of how the story is told. Hazel Grace is still Hazel Grace with all her snappy comebacks, but we also get to see how hard it is to be her (when she has to go the hospital, the Anne Frank house).

Quite frankly, after seeing Divergent and now The Fault in Our Stars, I'm going to have to take back what I said about Shailene Woodley. I was quick to see her just as the girl from The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but you know what? She pulled it off. Woodley did a fantastic job portraying Hazel Grace Lancaster. (And to be honest, I thought she might after what I saw in the trailers.) She can be funny and sad, and you can forget that her character's a grenade--until she isn't. I wasn't so sure about Ansel Elgort playing Augustus Waters, either, but that worked too. While Elgort still isn't how I pictured Augustus and he's slightly awkward in some scenes (and so was Woodley, a bit), there were some times when he was just AUGUSTUS. And the two together? GOLDEN.

The secondary characters were pretty good, too. While we didn't see much of Hazel's dad (Sam Trammell), what we did see was fine. Peter van Houten (portrayed well and creepily by Willem Dafoe) was a total douche, and a good one at that. He doesn't have much screen-time, but what we do see is memorable. Laura Dern was excellent as Hazel's mom; I don't remember her mom being such a big part of the story in the book, but she was great in the movie. (Also, I may have been geeking that Dern was there while I was watching the movie, SO.) I so wish we could've had more scenes with Support Group in the Literal Heart of Jesus, because Patrick (Mike Birbiglia) was a total scene-stealer. Give him his own show or something. And last but not least is Nat Wolff, who played Isaac--another job done well. WELL DONE, CASTING PEOPLE.

There was one thing throughout the movie that was, I'd say, a constant in the theatre: laughter. There were laughs here, there, and everywhere. I LOVED that. Like, this can be a movie about a teenager dying from cancer, but it doesn't have to be this totally sad and depressing movie that has to be watched with ice cream and chocolate. (Do people actually do that when they watch sad movies?) The Fault in Our Stars is a fun, feel-good sort of movie, but it most certainly has depth. Lots of laughter and smiles, but some tears, too. (And it's hard when you've read the book first, even more so when this movie follows it well, because you just KNOW what's going to happen next and next and next. And sometimes, that scares you in this movie.)

As I mentioned earlier, I cried while watching The Fault in Our Stars. However, it was nothing like with the book. I didn't sob for FOREVER. I didn't spend at least a day feeling like there was a hole inside me. At one point--a surprising point--I started to cry, and at another those tears turned into sobs. And then I was okay. But I DID cry--I just wasn't as emotionally distraught as I thought I'd be. (Though I don't think I can say the same for the person sitting a few rows back who was constantly making sobbing-noises during the Q&A.)

In the end: The Fault in Our Stars is most certainly worth seeing (and reading, if you haven't yet). This movie accomplishes two things that are important in adaptions: it's made with quality, and it's true to the book. On top of that, the characters were wonderfully cast and bring their characters to life, and the script is reminiscent of the book. While this film is worth of some tears being shed, even more than that, it is made of laughs. But really, The Fault in Our Stars was just okay.

Side note: I'm totally excited for the mindfuck people who haven't read the book are going to have when they see this movie.

After the Movie
When the movie was over and I was waiting for my wet face to dry, the SIFF guy, Isaac Klausner, and Laura Dern returned to the stage to do a litte Q&A, and here are some highlights (and things I tweeted):

"When you read this book, you only say 'okay.'" - Laura Dern on The Fault in our Stars book.

"John Green's book is like the greatest cheat for any actor." - Laura Dern

When asked about their favorite memories from filming, Laura Dern responded that one of her favorite memories from the experience was when "CUT!" was yelled. She'd see John Green leap out of his seat when scenes were finished and run to the actors and hug them. He seemed to be a big (and very liked) presence on the set!

During a certain scene where Shailene Woodley was upstairs and everyone else was downstairs, I believe Isaac Klausner said, they had to practically strap John Green to his chair so he wouldn't go comfort Woodley while they were filming.

"Read books." - Laura Dern

At one point during the movie process, John Green said, "I wrote a REALLY sad book."

"I'm grateful." - Laura Dern (I believe in response to a question asking what kind of mark she and Isaac would want to leave on the world.)

All in all, there was a LOT of praise for John Green, and I LOVED that because you don't always hear much from the movie people about the person who created the story that they brought to the big screen.

Unfortunately, my plans for a Before and After The Fault in Our Stars selfie didn't work, because my face didn't show my tears when we left the theatre. OH WELL. (But seriously, I really wanted to do that!)

So that's it (I think)! My thoughts on The Fault in Our Stars! But really, you should totally see it. Okay? Okay.


  1. I saw a pre-screening of TFiOS in NYC. Like you, I'd have to say it was the best book-to-film adaptation I've seen in a long time (or EVER). It's been weeks since I've seen the film and I still stand by that statement.

  2. I'm having difficulties trying to comprehend why the movie WILD just have not. I mean, you have a story of a powerful feminist-- fed up with lifestyle as she's resided it-- having scammed on partner, and hyper-grieved mom's death--having not known how to say "No!" to Toms, Cocks and Harrys-- and having not given up completely on Heroin-- instantly, arbitrarily getting the idea-- from something glimpsed on a guide rack-- that she will travel a excellent aspect of the Hawaiian Crest Trail-from The Mohave-and complete up in North Modifies name, God willing. That's committed to say the least Laura Dern's mom


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