I want something random, indescribable, beautiful, unexpected. I want to be caught off guard, and swept impossibly too high off my feet.
Nick Miller, Isn’t It Pretty To Think So?
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
That quote perfectly describes what I felt after reading the book. Augustus Waters left me a mark. I’ve never been so fascinated with a book character. I said to myself that I shouldn’t miss the movie for the world. I have to see this no matter what.
The movie/book is about Hazel and Augustus who are both suffering with cancer, they fall in love and they try to find their little infinities in their numbered days together. Little infinities, like moments that seem like forever.
Shailene Woodley plays Hazel Grace Lancaster almost effortlessly. She’s the light of the movie. She IS Hazel and she doesn’t even have to try. Ansel Elgort is Augustus Waters, who is impossibly handsome, endearing and perfectly cast. He was so cute in the airplane scene. He IS the real-life Gus. His hair is perfect, and that jacket, exactly I imagined it. He may not have blue eyes but he got Augustus’ air of confidence, and that crooked smile. And boy, was he tall and flawless. Nat Wolff as Isaac, was hilarious but still I got teary-eyed with his eulogy. I thought that Willem Dafoe was a good choice as Peter Van Houten even though I imagined a fat grumpy old man. (I didn’t remember the Green Goblin ) I wasn’t entirely sold on Laura Dern as Hazel’s mom, though.
I admire the people behind this movie because they were very meticulous up to the smallest details in the book. And eerily, some of the scenes were very similar to what I imagined, like Augustus’ room, the Literal Heart of Jesus, the hospital, the gas station, and the Filosoof in Amsterdam. It’s very surreal to see the book come to life, and it’s a beautiful thing.
I found myself teary-eyed in a weird moment where Hazel’s mom told her they’re going to Amsterdam. But the highlight for me was the ending, it was the most moving and emotional part (of course). And it was done perfectly. The soundtrack is awesome, Ed Sheeran’s “All Of The Stars” was stuck in my mind for hours. There were some low points though, like Peter Van Houten’s scenes, I just don’t think a person who didn’t read the book will enjoy that part. And also, I felt Augustus’ you-know-what-happened was quite rushed. The thing is, the movie lacks the narrative parts of the book with all the details, that’s why a person who haven’t read it would appreciate it more because they won’t expect anything and will not compare.
From a reader’s perspective, I thought, the book is, of course, more emotionally compelling than the movie. But if you haven’t read the book, it will definitely make you teary-eyed, just like the person beside me kept wiping her tears towards the end. This is a romance movie that doesn’t get too cheesy, is not pretentious, and doesn’t have annoying characters. It’s a sad story but is not sappy and depressing. It’s also quite engaging, not just for fangirls and TFIOS readers, but also for those not familiar with the book. There were lots of “feels” but there were also lots of “laughs”.
The film is very true to the book. Of course, a two-hour movie can never capture all the moments in the book, but the important things are there. I left the theater satisfied and I don’t mind watching it all over again.