The Fault in our Stars (2014) – A review by a guy with cancer

Yeah you heard me! A dude with the big C talking about a film with loads of cancer… victims? Sufferers? Club members? What do you call people like us? I’ll stick with sufferers in lieu of thinking of a better word. I prefer to be referred to as a ‘Third Dan Cancer Fight-Master’ but I’m weird like that. I have Ocular Melanoma which is usually known as eye cancer for those of you who hate syllables. Its incredibly annoying as I have no depth perception and can’t turn left. I’m basically an ugly Derek Zoolander.

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Will they? Won’t they? Hint: They will

Anyway back to the movie. The Fault In Our Stars is a film based on the wildly popular book of the same name by John Green (you can read a review of it here). It tells the story of cancer sufferer Hazel (Shailene Woodley) who is a teenager whose life is empty and she just counts down the days. All of this changes when she attends a cancer support group and meets a hot guy called Augustus (Ansel Elgort) with one leg.

We join them on a journey of dreamy looks at each other, picnics in the park, late night phone calls. Basically actions that should be irritating to the average viewer but somehow it feels OK. Maybe its because these are two kids with real problems, not just that your IPhone broke or a girl told her friends you have a little wiener that looks like a jelly-bean in a fur coat. No, Hazel and Augustus are living with the spectre of death hanging over them. Damn, that got dark fast.

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Told you!

So we have two young lovers who in a rare twist for movies are actually incredibly likeable. You don’t begrudge them the cheesy stuff or the schmaltzy lines, they deserve to experience all of this. Plus they aren’t assholes. And I’ve met my fair share of assholes with cancer. Not actual cancer of the rectum, I mean these people are dicks with cancer. Not actual penis canc… You know what I mean. But I digress, Hazel and Augustus are good people who you can smile at when things are good and squeeze out a tear when events inevitably go south.

As someone in the C-Unit (my new melanoma based hip-hop supergroup) I’ve written before about how films get cancer wrong. A Fault In Our Stars avoids many of these pitfalls such as not having characters that look constantly on the verge of death. Hazel lugs around an oxygen tank and Gus has one leg but its not a big deal to them, and no one focuses on it which is refreshing. Also it doesn’t go down the route of what I call ‘The Cure’ where you either get cured or you die. Hazel has cancer that will never go away but through treatment she manages it, there’s no uplifting scene of her getting ‘The Cure’.

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Woodley is excellent throughout

Watching the film was quite hard for me. It hit home the unfairness of it all, these young people who deserve to have long and happy lives but they won’t and the world won’t change when they’re gone. That’s also why the movie works – love is never more vital than when time is short and you have to experience all of it in a short period of time. What do you do? The message of the film is that if you try to make the lives of yourself and the people you care about a little bit better then that’s enough. I’ve devoted my time to making penis jokes on a film blog so maybe I need to rethink some things.

In summary The Fault In Our Stars is a sweet film which is elevated immensely by the captivating Shailene Woodley. She’s fantastic and just makes you like Hazel. It has a nice love story at its heart and it mostly treats cancer with respect (I’ll ignore the ‘comedy blind eye cancer sidekick’). As a Third Dan Cancer Fight-Master I can recommend the film for those who like a romantic flick that you need to take tissues into (no, not that kind of film, Eric).

Thanks for making it this far! Have you seen the film? Did you like it? Have you heard the latest single from C-Unit, its out on our new label Radio Therapy. I shouldn’t write this late at night, I’m getting bullshit overload.

7/10

Screenkicker Quality Index (SQI)

BEST

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WORST

63 comments

  1. hahaha. Many chuckles. A good many chuckles. I still can’t stop chuckling. . oh, there goes another one. 😀 😀

    I can’t wait to get to this. I’ve been fortunate with my own health, but based on everything I’ve read and am hearing, this film may well have me in tears. It sounds excellent, and mature for a romance film or a drama centered around romance. Nice work Mikey!

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  2. Just felt too schmaltzy and hokey to me. So much so that it was hard for me to sympathize for anybody in this movie. Wasn’t their faults, it was just that the movie didn’t do them much justice. Good review.

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  3. Great review Mikey, and thanks for linking!

    I watched this yesterday and I must say that I quite enjoyed it, it was engaging and the characters were all just fine.

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  4. Nice to read your take on this as a Third Dan Cancer Fight-Master! Is 50/50 worth a look then? I missed it when it came out but it keeps popping up on Netflix.

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  5. Great review. I loved the book becuase it had likeable characters and didn’t feel cheesy like a lot of similar books with this subject matter falls into. Glad to hear the film is good too as I wasn’t too sure on the trailer.

    And C-Unit, shouldn’t that be a superhero team rather than a hip-hop group? Or is that just your cover! Hip Hop group by day, fighting crime at night?

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  6. Great review, and you’ve made me want to check out 50/50 now!

    I just interviewed Jean Brassard from this film on my blog (shameless plug) and he certainly made it sound like this movie was a beautiful, respectful one.

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  7. “a girl told her friends you have a little wiener that looks like a jelly-bean in a fur coat”

    Is that anecdotal?

    And agreed about the film – I liked most everything about it, though I think Isaac’s scenes could have been handled better. Great film!

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  8. Well I’m not planning to see this movie but 50/50 scored higher on the SQI so I think I’m ok as I’ve seen that one! Plus I read the book (didn’t like it much) so extra points for me.
    Meh, your blog makes me laugh, and damn was My Sister’s Keeper one sick movie.

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  9. Hi Mikey! You’re such a trooper dude. I thought 50/50 was indeed a great film that somehow could make a *lighter* movie about cancer without sacrificing the substance/depth of the subject matter. Interesting perspective here and I’m glad that this one is pretty good. I’m curious to see it but since I’m bound to be an emotional basket case I think I’ll just rent it.

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  10. This was such an awesome review. Super hilarious and it was really interesting and refreshing to hear your POV.

    I agree, I wish Isaac played more of a role. He was great.

    Still laughing at “jelly bean in a fur coat”. Oh my god.

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  11. I wasn’t keen on watching a teenage romance film that may appear too sentimental or exploitative. But with your positive (and very well-written) review, I’m slightly intrigued!

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  12. Really interesting review Mikey. I wasn’t expecting to like this one but the cast were so endearing that it steered clear of schmaltz and felt quite honest. Haven’t seen 50/50 yet but it’s in my Netflix queue.

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  13. Bro, you’ve got problems bigger than cancer if “or a girl told her friends you have a little wiener that looks like a jelly-bean in a fur coat” is a thing in your life. No, okay, I’m sorry, not trying to be insensitive. It’s just that your review was so funny that I had to chime in too.

    I loved this film, though most of it was probably just seeing the book come to life. I cried so much, maybe more than when reading, even — I feel a bit embarrassed at how much I laughed reading this review now. Woodley and Elgort were perfect! Great review, and very interesting perspective! I’m really glad you liked 50/50, by the way, it’s one of my favourites!

    Great review

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Excellent review, Mike! I’ll probably watch this one soon – I really liked the book (I reviewed it too but Zoe’s reviews are way better than mine! Lol!). LMAO at “C-Unit”. You crack me up. : )

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh man, it’s that whole Gravity debacle all over again. I saw the trailer and was like “Pffft that’s fucking stupid, nobody will like this” but sure enough, it becomes the most beloved talked about movie in the history of all movies… somehow. Now this one. I was convinced it would be terrible. I should just stop watching trailers I think.

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  16. Good review, dude! I wondered how you would feel about this one. Sounds like maybe we’re on a similar level for how much we liked it. I see you rated 50/50 above this–I’ve been curious about it. That one’s pretty good then?

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  17. Great review Mikey and I liked hearing your thoughts on how you were able to relate that to your life. Thanks for sharing with us. You are right there is never that cure scene, that was refreshing, there was no sugar coating the truth here. And yes Eric def needs to tissues for his types of movies. lol

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