Movie: The Fault in Our Stars
Director: Josh Boone
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Willem Dafoe
Rating/Runtime: PG-13 / 126 Minutes
Friday mornings are movie time in our family. But this morning, there was no way I could get my husband to come see The Fault in Our Stars with me. So I called my 15-year old niece, Stormy, and we went bought popcorn, drinks and settled down to see this movie.
It is the story of two teenagers with cancer. One who has beat it, but lost the lower half of his leg to it, Augustus Waters. And one who is just counting down the days until she dies, Hazel. He strongly believes in God, she’s unwilling to say whether He is there or not. And these two young people beat the odds and become the most important people in each others lives. The story takes us through their first meeting and Gus overcoming Hazel’s natural reticence to bring anyone new into her life because of her impending death. But Gus is one determined young man and slowly their relationship grows until they’ve fallen in love. But what happens next?
Gus has an irrepressible personality filled with hope and laughter, while Hazel is more pessimistic and more inclined to believe that when life ends, it just ends.
This is the basis of the story that unwinds during the movie. Some may look at this story as a dopey love story and dismiss it out of hand. That would be a mistake. There are several important questions that move the film forward:
– What happens to those left behind when a loved one dies?
– What happens to us when we die?
– Why do things happen the way they do?
– Why is life so hard?
On a brief trip to Amsterdam, Holland, Gus and Hazel visit Anne Frank’s Hiding Place. The struggles in their lives and what drives them comes down to this extremely salient advice from Anne Frank: “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”
If all were good in right in the world, children would never become ill and they would never die before their parents. But the world is what it is. This movie takes on the journey of what happens when children become sick and theirs isn’t a happy ending. It is beautiful, heart wrenching film, and yet fills the soul with the beauty of their journey.
When I asked my niece what message she got from the movie she replied, “Live life to the fullest, no matter what is going on.” That is an excellent “take home” message. Crisply written, directed with dimension, and acted with depth, this is a movie that can change hearts. When I asked Stormy how many stars she would give The Fault in Our Stars she answered six and she was now in love with Ansel Elgort. For me, I’ll give the movie a solid 5 out of 5 Stars, it’s just that good. Without question it will takes it’s place in my home movie library when it becomes available.
I don’t recommend sending your children to this movie unattended. This is a movie that will spark conversation and likely some deeply existential questions. It will be a good conversation to have, and if your children walk away with the message to live life to the fullest, then you’ve done your job right.
Candace E. Salima is an author, columnist, public speaker and political activist. A frequent radio guest on shows around the nation, she is valued for her viewpoint on a variety of subjects, particularly politics. Follow Candace on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Learn more about her at www.candacesalima.com.