The Fault in Our Stars: film discussion

June 10, 2014 films, Kate, review discussion, Wendy 70

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All right, how many people cried at the theater this weekend? Kate and Wendy did, because we both went to see Edge of Tomorrow. Kidding, kidding–that part is true, but we’re here to talk about the film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars, based on the crazily popular novel by John Green.

Quick background: Kate has read the book and really liked it, even though she felt she’d been emotionally manipulated; Wendy has thus far resisted all John Green novels and ultimately decided to go into the movie fresh. Some spoilers are inevitable, so proceed at your own risk.

So here’s what we thought–be sure and let us know your reaction to the movie, or if you’re planning on seeing it!

 

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Wendy: I admit it: I cried. I was doing pretty well and thinking to myself, “Okay, this isn’t so bad,” and then that scene in the car at the gas station happened and it was just all downhill from there. It’s a good thing we stopped at Walgreen’s right before the movie to load up on tissues.

Kate: I’m so glad you had the forethought to do that. I actually cried almost every time that Laura Dern was onscreen, because it seems like living your life around a person who is going to die at any moment would be the worst fucking thing. In the scene where she ran out of the bathtub because she thought Shailene was dying the tears just dumped themselves down my face and there was nothing I could do about it.

Wendy: She made me tear up as well. She was really a stand-in for most of us–the people who are left behind. Weren’t Shailene and Ansel great in this? Their performances felt so natural and unselfconscious, and I liked all the supporting actors as well, Sam Trammel as Hazel’s dad to Nat Wolff, who played Gus’ best friend Isaac.

10274177_1482930411936876_1033690207813215149_nKate: I actually didn’t think Shailene was right for the role. I think she did a really good job (she’s such a great actor), but the dialogue had a little bit of that stylized Joss Whedon / Aaron Sorkin thing going on, and I didn’t think she ever fell into that pocket where the quirky stuff felt natural. She was amazing in the earnest moments where she’s onscreen alone, you know, crying and shit, but I just didn’t buy her in the humorous parts, and because of that I didn’t feel the chemistry between her and Ansel. Which is funny, because otherwise I would say that Ansel is one of those actors who could have chemistry with a bucket of rocks (although the amount of eye contact he made was borderline creepy).

She also–and I think a lot of this was the haircut they gave her–looked about five years older than he did. I know she’s a few years his senior in real life, but his character is supposed to be the older of the two of them.

Wendy: Oh, interesting! I responded well to her performance, maybe because the Gus character was so quirky himself that Hazel came off as more of the straight man. I liked her in this, and I think casting on the basis of those huge emotional scenes isn’t a bad choice. But I would agree their chemistry felt much more like really good friends chemistry rather than romantic interest chemistry. And she did look older than he did, though I liked that they left her looking more natural. Those freckles were too sweet.

Kate: Man, those freckles. SO freaking cute. And Ansel’s teeth! Maybe Ansel’s was the performance that bugged me. Maybe he leaned too far into the quirkiness.

Wendy: Maybe. I’m guessing that’s just the character, however, and for me, those performances worked because both of them approached their characters without any irony whatsoever. I think what I appreciated most about this movie was how deeply sincere the whole film felt. From the acting to the directing to the music, there was a very real sense that this story mattered to the people involved in it, and there wasn’t a huge feeling of “we’re making this movie for teenagers,” where sometimes you get shortcuts and hurried narratives. It might’ve been a teeny bit too generous with some of that time, but I did like that the filmmakers trusted in their audience and gave the story a chance to unfold.

Kate: I KNOW. So, so respectful. There were a few parts where it felt to me like maybe Shailene was too much a fan of the source material? Does that makes sense? Like she was too aware that a moment was poignant? (I know it seems like I’m picking Shailene apart, and that’s only because this is HER movie. She’s the star. Everyone else supports her.) I was especially impressed with the performances of the adult actors, and by how much they were given to do–I fully expected all the stuff with Hazel’s parents to be cut out to make room for MOAR ROMANCE.

Wendy: Yeah, same here. They’re the ones most of us identify with, though, so it was smart to keep it. Not to mention parents are a still a huge part of most kids’ lives, and it’s nice to see that portrayed onscreen in a teen movie.

Kate: YES. Hooray for good parents! I also laughed when I saw that Willem Dafoe had been cast to play the drunk author, because every time I see him in anything, no matter how good he is, I think about (I’m laughing about it now) those scenes in Spider-Man where he talks to himself, you know, Gollum-style. ALSO: Boy, is Lotte Verbeek ever distractingly gorgeous. Everyone in this move looks real and normal (especially Shailene), and then suddenly this supermodel shows up with a leather jacket in the exact same shade of burgundy as the sweater she’s wearing under it, and I had to like reboot my brain to get things to make sense. It is complete bullshit that she is also talented.

Wendy: She is crazy beautiful. That coloring and those delicate features are already to die for, but she made you feel something for her character’s position, too. Hard to do, in what would normally be a fairly thankless and unmemorable role. I also want that light as air scarf she just casually throws on when she goes out into the street to find them.

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Wendy: I’ve avoided reading the book thus far because a. I haven’t really been in a place where I’ve felt like I could handle a story where kids are dying and b. the massive hype and cutesty stuff that have filtered down have made me wary. And to be honest, I had to separate some of my preconceived notions about the source material and the author’s occasionally controversial online persona to watch this movie, because I do want to support good YA film adaptations. But I’m curious how you thought the film stacked up against the book, Kate. I assume they kept a great deal of the dialogue?

Kate: Yeah, no major changes. Hey, did the animated text bubbles bother you? They did me, a bit–I think partially because they also showed inserts of the texts on their iPhone screens. I think I would have liked it better if the texts had continued to be displayed that way throughout the movie OR if they just hadn’t been childish handwriting in wiggly dialogue bubbles. I don’t know. I like the way texts are displayed on the screen in other movies and tv shows (like Sherlock on the BBC), but the dancing words…

Wendy: Normally that kind of thing bothers me because I think filmmakers are trying too hard and it’s a distraction, but it didn’t really bug me much here, maybe because with all the cutesy stuff tied to the book and movie promotions, I was already expecting it? The squiggly handwriting font was a little much, though I think it would appeal to its core audience of the text-speak generation.

It’s funny because I thought I was either going to bawl like a baby the entire time or I was going to be really angry at feeling manipulated. And yet my reaction was somewhere in between–I have a great deal of admiration for the way they pulled everything together, and I was definitely touched by it and cried a number of times towards the end. (Gas station/car scene, the scene in church, and when she’s lying on her bed.) I think it’s important to experience these kinds of stories, because the heart I try to protect from traumatic emotions really does need a jolt every once in awhile. I think audiences also respond well to stories like this that are told with some humor, like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s 50/50. And how nice to see stories about people with illnesses and disabilities, huh? And portraying real stories about ordinary people in a way that makes you care about them, vs. the bubble gum “yay diversity” stuff we are inundated with from shows like Glee.

Kate: I cried more at the book than the movie (but of course I did–it was all in my head, and that’s so much more poignant), but I really liked the type of tears I got to let out while watching the movie. They just sort of fell out of my eyes without making a fuss. I didn’t make a Claire Danes ugly face or anything. I cried like a badass warrior lady.

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Wendy: I’m not always a fan of hyper self-aware dialogue, but the bordering-on-too-precocious musings of Augustus did win me over, particularly because at one point I just thought, you know, boys like this really do exist. They’re earnest and smart and well-read, and that doesn’t always look cool and polished, and in person sometimes it’s like an over-eager puppy wearing you down. But I grew to love that sunny personality, especially when you see the contrast later. It also helped that Hazel and Isaac respond to him with a healthy degree of skepticism and humor–it’s disarming, and felt like a nod from the script/story that “yes, he’s too much sometimes, but don’t you love him anyway?” And I did.

Kate: Agreed. Plenty of teenagers are like this–or pretend to be, which is kind of the same thing. It’s the hormones. And the exposure to John Green novels.

Wendy: Heh. So true! Oh, I also liked all the set design and costuming. It felt like people lived in those houses and sat in those church basements, and for once, teenagers are dressed like real teenagers, not like the super shiny tv version of teenagers. Even the scene when they get dressed up to go to dinner, it wasn’t some glam ballgown with a plunging neckline. I liked that when you went over to Gus’ house, there was boy crap everywhere, and that scene in the hotel wasn’t a perfectly made bed, and it was a little bit fumbly and sweet.

Kate: YES. I also loved that for most of the movie, Laura Dern looked like she had never heard of a hairbrush, but when they took their trip, she was able to take the time to actually fix herself up a bit, and you could kind of see what she must have been like before her daughter got so sick.

They also did really great things with the cut of Shailene’s clothes. Everything was like a full size too baggy, so she looked like she couldn’t keep on weight. And that basement was SUCH a teenage boy’s room.

Wendy: I like both those observations–the costuming was particularly good because it felt subtle, and appropriate for where she was in her stage of illness. I admit the first kiss in Anne Frank’s attic weirded me out, though–when I think of what that family experienced in that space, part of me is aghast at that sort of display in a place that I think about with such respect and sadness. That moment was a little too Hollywood for me, and while I understand being moved by the moment or whatever, I was still a bit annoyed. But you know, Anne herself probably wouldn’t have minded seeing that, so…there’s that, hah. Now I want to reread The Diary of Anne Frank.

Kate: I can’t weigh in on this because I got up to pee during that scene. I hate the sound it makes when people kiss onscreen. It sounds like an old man smacking on his food. It really creeps me out. I thought I was being smart and that I’d miss the scene in the hotel AFTER the Anne Frank house, but I was gone just long enough to re-enter the theater at exactly the worst moment. I thought that scene at the hotel worked really well, though, and the awkwardness of talking to the mom the next morning was great.

Wendy: Yeah, the morning after was handled perfectly–a teeny bit mortifying, but there’s all that secret happiness going on. I think what the adaptations for TFIOS and Divergent both proved is that the filmmakers didn’t just decide to do a “teen” film, they just set out to do a good film. If you think about the ones that have stayed classics like Clueless or Mean Girls or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Dead Poets Society or The Breakfast Club, those all work because they appeal to moviegoers of all ages. The protagonists just happen to be teens. It’s not unlike really good YA literature in that sense.

Kate: I am fascinated by adults who can’t enjoy well-told stories about younger people, Wendy. I think they fear their own mortality, and that seeing teenagers accomplishing things and living full lives taps into that visceral fear, because, holy shit, those people act like grownups but they are half (or a third, whatever) the age of the disdainful person. There’s other stuff in there, too–lack of empathy comes to mind–but I think fear is a big part of it.

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Wendy: I’m glad to see that the film did so well this weekend. If we continue to get great adaptations, and they’re a success, that can only mean positive things for the YA community. Both in terms of seeing better adaptations that receive the kind of attention they deserve, as well as in terms of getting more people interested in reading these books.

Kate: I know.  I am genuinely a fan of anything that gets people to read, and I think this movie does that. BTW, did you see the thing where Vee from Orange is the New Black reads TFIOS and calls John Green a sick fuck?

Wendy: I snickered when I saw the screenshot going around. We haven’t gotten to that episode yet, but I’m looking forward to it. You have to have a sense of humor about these things, even if I ended up liking the story more than I thought I would. I was surprised by how sincerely I was drawn in by the story line and characters. Isn’t it funny that we’ve arrived at a place where a lack of cynicism actually feels refreshing?

 

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So what did you think of the film? Was it everything you hoped it would be?

Incidentally, if you were considering seeing Maleficent, GO DO IT! Wendy loved the risks it took with its revisionist history, and it’s such a positive female-centric story. We can’t wait for How to Train Your Dragon 2 and are curious about If I Stay as well.

Previous Midnight Garden Film Discussions:

Divergent
Vampire Academy

Images courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

 

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Kate

 

 

 

 

 

70 Responses to “The Fault in Our Stars: film discussion”

  1. Kate S. (@ExLibris_Kate)

    I was really pleased with how this movie turned out. I would say that 90% of the dialogue was lifted directly from the book….at least from what I remember since I REFUSE to reread it ever again. The fake funeral made me cry the most, I think.

    I saw John Green speak at ALA Midwinter shortly after the book was released and someone in the audience made a comment about how “real” teens don’t talk like Gus, and he (politely) called bullshit on that, which made me happy. I think you’re right, I think that there are many teens who are intellectuals (as JG called them) so while Gus does have that “book boyfriend” shine to him, I also think that you could find him in real life, as well.

    One scene that really killed me was when they came back from Amsterdam and Hazel’s Dad is waiting for them in the airport. Hazel’s mom starts crying and, for some reason, that really got to me. That little scene really illustrated what a solid couple the Lancasters were and how much their experiences with Hazel’s illness must have bonded them. I do think that the movie gave the parent/child interaction more depth than I felt when I read the book. In fact, those scenes made me cry more than the romance, which wasn’t the case when I read the book. I give Laura Dern credit for that.

    It’s funny that you mentioned the Anne Frank house. I think that if I had not read the book I might have found it odd, so that might have been one of the few scenes that didn’t translate well without the context of the book. I thought they did a really good job and even improved it a bit, from the book.
    Kate S. (@ExLibris_Kate) recently posted…The Chapel Wars By Lindsey Leavitt

    • Sara

      OMG WHEN HE HELD UP THE SIGN. Ugh, that made my eyes tear up the most. I have to admit the movie didn’t make me cry. I didn’t LOVE the book like everyone else and I’m not much of a crier anyway, so going into this movie already knowing the story kind of took away some of the emotional impact for me, but Laura Dern and Sam Trammell were excellent. I think I’m always more partial to non-romantic love stories though.

  2. A Canadian Girl

    Yay, I’m not the only one who hasn’t read a John Green novel! I still need to watch the movie but I like knowing that you guys cried because some other people I know mentioned that they didn’t. I’m curious to see which group I fall into.

    P.S. I saw Maleficent and enjoyed the ending – which I totally predicted! – but I kind of wished that her backstory didn’t involve her being a jilted woman.
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

  3. Thomas

    Love the honesty in this film discussion! I went to see it with a group of friends and all of them adored it, and while I appreciated the film and how true it kept to the book, I thought a few things could have been better: namely, the romance between Hazel and Augustus felt forced (especially in the first half of the film). However, like you guys have said, the movie did make me cry and overall felt emotionally honest. Not my favorite movie, but it did right to Green’s original work and could have been a lot worse.
    Thomas recently posted…Gives Light by Rose Christo

  4. Zaira F

    I agree with what Kate said! I loved Shailene’s scenes alone, but I didn’t feel her chemistry with Ansel either!

  5. Lia

    I haven’t had the pleasure to watch tfios yet, but I’m sure it will exceed my absurdly high expectations.

  6. Kelly

    I haven’t seen either Divergent or The Fault in our Stars as yet. Most likely, I’ll just wait until they come out on Blu Ray and buy both, mainly to support more YA adaptations. To be honest, TFIOS, I’m sick of hearing about it. I loved our discussion on Twitter the other day (along with Belle’s Bookshelf), and it was almost a relief to see that others are sick of having John Green shoved down our throats. I like that it seemed to maintain it’s realism, portraying teens as average teens and not the Hollywood version. I’m really interested to see what their on screen chemistry is like, the few reviews I’ve seen agree with you lovely ladies, that they were really buying it. Love the discussion, always a pleasure to read :)
    Kelly recently posted…Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman Review and Giveaway

  7. Rachel

    I don’t usually do sad books or films but Arlene is really on me to read this and then go see the movie. For that reason I only skimmed your thoughts because I don’t want spoilers. I think I’d go see the movie before reading the book, though. I’m usually disappointed by the movie if I see it to close to reading the book. My sister (not a real book reader) went and saw this and told me it was completely worth the heartbreak/sadness, so I’m still going back and forth.
    Rachel recently posted…Review & Giveaway: I Want to Hold Your Hand by Marie Force

  8. Yusra

    I have yet to watch the movie and read the book, but hearing so much about it makes me want to pick it up off my bookshelf right away and give it a go! I’m a little fearful of the tragic aspects of the story, but I guess that’s part of what makes this book so good. Great discussion!

  9. Aaliyah

    I loved the film!! I think they stayed true to the book. I just wish they had more Isaac parts ;) He’s hilarious! Especially that scene in the book when he says to his doctor (sarcastically) “Thank you for explaining that my eye cancer isn’t going to make me deaf”. Haha :D Isaac is perfectly sarcastic and funny. Also, they left out a few parts/characters (but not major) like Kaitlyn and other things. That didn’t really bother me. You can’t really have EVERYTHING in a movie. But this film came close :)

  10. Des

    I loved it! I was actually surprised that I didn’t cry as much as I did with the book, but it is the way of words, I guess. Nevertheless, it stayed pretty much true to the book and the scenes they cut, I believe, were okay in that the story was still told very well–the story we know and love.

  11. Alise

    “and then that scene in the car at the gas station happened and it was just all downhill from there.” YEP. And oh my gosh, you’re right-the scenes with the mother made me want to cry all the time too. She’s such a great actor! I didn’t like Hazel’s dad’s acting very much, though. Totally agree about the dynamic between Ansel and Shailene, it was effortless. Great discussion, guys! :) Fun!
    Alise recently posted…Marooned: Hidden by Marianne Curley

  12. Lisa (Fic Talk)

    Great discussion guys! Maybe I’ll watch it, maybe I won’t. Who knows? The last movie surrounding cancer that I watched a couple months ago really tore me up (Now Is Good), so I’m not really in excite-mode to go and see the film at the moment.

    I also have had this book on my shelf for a very long time–haven’t read it yet either. I’ve read 1 book of JG’s so far and while I liked it at the time, I’ve found that looking back I find his teenage characters to be be too pretentious. Also, with all the drama that’s gone down with him of late it’s just somewhat turned me off from him.

  13. Christina R.

    It is so awesome that the film was true to the book and the stars true to the characters.

    I LOVE that we got a deeper connection to her mom, and what it’s like living with the fear of someone dying.

    LOVELY discussion :)

  14. Larissa

    Great discussion ladies! <33 I saw the movie on Saturday and totally teared up so much. And cried once :p However I don't think I could really form coherent sentences on how I felt regarding the movie, other than my adoration. So props to you guys c:

    I have read TFIOS, however it's been quite some time since I did. I really honestly didn't remember much other than basic plot points. So, it was like I was going into the movie blank.

    You both made good points about the parents, I personally would have liked more scenes with them involved. For me adding parents to the mix just brings up the emotional complexity to a whole new level, that scene with Hazel's mother running out of the tub was just so poignant. The acting with the parents was done beautifully.

    I really did actually enjoy all of the acting, especially Ansel c: I feel like Gus is really a hard character to transfer from the pages of a book to the screen, without becoming totally and utterly pretentious. I feel like Ansel's take on Gus worked though because, alike y'all, I found his ways were acknowledged by the others in a good way. He also just made me smile on more then one occasion. I know for some he can seem too much, but that's just part of his charm c: Shailene, hmmm. I'm still unsure of how I feel about her. Of course, as Hazel, her performance pulled at my heartstrings. However there were times where I found the chemistry between Hazel and Gus lacking, and I can't help but feel as if this was due to the portrayal Shailene offered of Hazel. I'll have to reflect more on this, maybe I should see the movie again? [;

    I found all of the performances to be so organic. I was also a little nervous about over acting, which is always a possibility. Luckily everything was acted to my liking, with consideration to the source material while also showcasing great emotion. If I'm honest with you there probably were moments made to emotionally manipulate me. However I was okay with that??? Lol even that emotional manipulation felt organic.

    Hehe, loved how you mentioned how realistic things were, with the clothing and the boy room and such. Having two brothers, I can definitely assure you that the way Gus' man cave was presented is 100 percent accurate. I also loved the lack of make-up/more natural way Shailene looked. It made the movie feel less Hollywood and more real life. Though Lotte Verbeek is too gorgeous and I need that jacket in my life, stat.

    I actually didn't mind the text bubbles. I thought they were done in a unique and fun way that fit the quirkiness of the novel. Though I do think the squiggly font may have been better replaced by something else.

    Lovely review girls! Sorry this comment is all over the place.
    Larissa recently posted…Review: Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah

    • Kate Bond

      Yeah, I really think Shailene’s performance is the one that bothers me. I think she’s just a little bit too earnest. And the two of them really did not have sexual chemistry. Oh well. The performances really were all just top-notch, otherwise, and I genuinely, like you, LOVED how natural Shailene looked.

      I’m glad the text bubbles didn’t bother you. I’m happy to be in the minority in this instance.

  15. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    “I’ve avoided reading the book thus far because a. I haven’t really been in a place where I’ve felt like I could handle a story where kids are dying.”

    Me TOO. I don’t even want to go to the movie. Maybe that makes me a chicken, but at least I’m honest about it, AND I fully recognize the possibility that I am missing out. I have the book. I could turn around and look at it sitting on a bookshelf right now, but so far I’ve not worked up . . . whatever it is that needs working up in order to read it.
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Early Review: The Queen of the Tearling

    • Kate Bond

      The movie is less traumatizing that the book because the characters don’t have sexual chemistry onscreen. For what it’s worth.

      It’s about kids dying of cancer, though, so it’s really not so much fun for us grownups. At all.

  16. Mara

    I saw it and didn’t cry!

    Anyways, I TOTALLY AGREE about Shailene and Ansel having BEST FRIEND chemistry instead of romantic chemistry. 100%. I hadn’t thought of that before but I absolutely see it now. I think they definitely have chemistry, just not real passionate romantic chemistry. And I do think Shailene Woodley was wonderful in the role as Hazel. Also, Ansel has a baby face naturally so that probably contributed to Shailene looking older than him because I think they did a good job making her look younger, though during some scenes I do think she looked older (like in the last good day scene)

    Also- I thought the way they portrayed the texting was really a sparkling delight. Here’s a quote from Vulture.com’s article titled “10 reasons why TFIOS movie is better than the book” (I don’t necessarily agree on the title, but I do on some of the points”

    9. Better texting.
    In the book, Hazel and Gus’s texts just sit there on the page. But in the movie, they pop up in colorful, animated bubbles. There’s anticipation! And timing. It feels like real texting.

    Here’s the article link,
    http://www.vulture.com/2014/06/fault-in-our-stars-movie-is-better-than-the-book.html

    Anyways, what did you guys think about Edge of Tomorrow (on a side note ;p ) I thought it was smart and those aliens were SO COOOL looking. And I now have a girl crush on Emily Blunt. The ending was a little abrupt though and a little off, but I really enjoyed the film and wish it had done better at the US box office!
    Excited for If I Stay!!!! And yes Maleficent was awesome, Angelina Jolie is a beaut. did you know that the toddler (in the scene where she almost falls off a cliff and where M. picks her up) is actually Angelina Jolie’s daughter Vivienne? Its because all of the other 3 and 4 year olds were too scared of Angelina Jolie in her black getup and scary contacts and horns.

    Anyways happy to hear you all enjoyed the film! Yep, most people loose it when Gus is in the gas station parking lot or he tells her the cancer has returned. I work at a theater and all the tween girls (or older girls) loose it right about then.

    • Kate Bond

      I like when texts are typed on the screen, like in Sherlock, rather than shown in insert shots. My real problem with how TFIOS did it was that toward the end, as things got serious, there were a lot of insert shots of Hazel’s phone, and I kind of think they should commit to one method of showing these things or the other.

      More importantly: HOLY SHIT did I ever love Edge of Tomorrow. Emily Blunt was amazing. And (I know this isn’t a popular opinion because he’s CLEARLY some kind of insane person) I absolutely adore Tom Cruise. What he does in this movie, performance-wise, is EXTREMELY difficult. He changes bit by bit, just by degrees, in scenes that were each shot repeatedly over the course of several days. I cannot say enough about how hard his job was here, and he did it just beautifully.

      That said, I agree about the end, and I think the movie would have done a lot better if Tom Cruise hadn’t made so many meh science fiction movies lately. People don’t trust him.

  17. bethany

    Wooo! So I’m going to approach commenting on this post the same way you posted it–conversationally, kind of.

    So… begin!

    Waitaminute, what does this mean?! “Wendy has thus far resisted all John Green novels…” WHAT? How? Why!

    AND I TOTALLY AGREE WITH KATE. The parents KILLED ME omgggg. Does that make me old if I’m empathizing more for the parents? And the bathtub scene, while I chucked, BROKE. MY. HEART. UGHHH.

    Ah, and now reading more, you’re right, Wendy, in that “They’re the ones most of us identify with” since most of us don’t have cancer and aren’t facing death the face… odds are, we’re one of the ones left behind.

    And hahahaha borderline creepy amounts of eye contact indeed–Ansel got SO MUCH funny screentime where he’s basically staring at Shailene.

    Oh, and Wendy, it sounds like you’re answering my earlier question kthx… got it. got it. Yeah, it’s interesting–John Green has SUCH a big following so it’s interesting to see how people split on loving it and joining the crowd vs. finding things that don’t fit just right. I don’t watch enough of his videos to know much other than what I read from/about him.

    And if the movie’s bordering-on-too-precocious musings were just right–you probably won’t love the book. There are a LOT of those precocious musings.. and tbh, I still don’t love that about the book. just not my cup of tea.

    Did you read/hear about how a lot of the sets were real houses? Like Gus’ basement was literally someone’s basement that the found by knocking on a random house’s door and the gal was like, “Dude, I read your book and my basement = Gus’ basement” and it was. Amazing right?

    AND I WANT TO REREAD ANNE FRANK TOO! What about a vote for one of these next month readalongs? :)

    Overall, I thought it was a really good movie. Some weird things here and there, but overall good. And I already know a handful of people who weren’t aware it was a book (I forget these people exist) and who are excited to read it… so anything to get people excited to read, I’m down! :)

    • Kate Bond

      I am closer in age to Shailene than I am to Laura Dern, but I just empathized with the mother so much more. Man, did her stuff ever break my heart!

      I used to have this acting teacher I HATED (she’s very famous and popular; mine is a kind of unusual opinion), and the one thing she did that I loved was yell at people when they “eye fucked” too much in a scene. “NOBODY NEEDS THAT MUCH EYE CONTACT, YOU FREAK!” she’d yell.

      I’ve shot a lot in real houses, and while I think that’s totally cool and everything, it’s kind of a dumb way of doing things. It’s so much easier and more convenient for everyone if you just build it all on a sound stage. That, and your house NEVER recovers from having a film crew in it.

      I will NEVER re-read Anne Frank. I can’t do it.

      And seriously: ANYTHING that gets people to read is great, regardless of what I think of the author or the property.

  18. Joy (Joyousreads)

    So it wasn’t just me who completely lost it every time Laura Dern was being the mother that she was! Ugh. That one where Hazel told her so excitedly that Peter invited them to Holland, only to walk away dejectedly because she couldn’t give her daughter that thing that she wants. *sobs*

    I was a mess.
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…Divided [Dualed, #2] by Elsie Chapman

  19. Amanda White

    I have not got a chance to read this book or see the movie yet but from the way everyone talks it’s worth it. I was planning on buying the book this weekend. Now after reading all these comments I can’t wait to get a hold of this book!

  20. Susan T.

    I haven’t read the book yet because I have a family member who has terminal cancer and I think it might hit too close to home. I haven’t seen the movie either. I feel like I’m missing out though so I hope that I will be able to handle it some day!

    • Kate Bond

      Yeah… I’d say this particular property isn’t quite good enough to risk the trauma on. It’s very sweet, but save your heart. And I’m so sorry you’re going through that.

  21. Deirdre

    I still have to see the The Fault in Our Stars movie, but I have read the book. I really hope that it sticks pretty close to the book. I’m looking forward to seeing it! :)

    • Wendy Darling

      From what I understand, it’s a very faithful adaptation of the book, Deirdre! I haven’t seen any reactions where fans of the book have said differently, so I hope that’s reassuring.

      • Kate Bond

        It’s really faithful, except that Hazel and Gus don’t really have romantic chemistry in the movie, so when they get romantic it’s not as special.

  22. Pili

    I’m so so happy to hear you both liked the movie, Wendy not having read the book and Kate having read it!
    I still haven’t read the book, partly was I’m a bit put off by the whole hype about John Green’s books and the Green Lit and partly because reading books about people (teens or adults) dying from cancer… it’s a bit too hard for me, since it reminds me of all the patients we’ve lost at work (I’ve been an oncology nurse for 8 years now…).
    I think I’ll be giving the book a chance soonish anyways, maybe a good cry is what I need…
    Pili recently posted…Xpresso Book Tour Blog Tour for Threats of Sky & Sea by Jennifer Ellision!!

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh yeah, I kind of held my tongue about it since I didn’t want the post to get too far off track since the main point was about the movie, but I have decidedly mixed feelings about John Green’s online persona and Green Lit and such. The “messiah of YA” press isn’t his fault, of course, but I’ve seen plenty of head-scratching tweets that have raised my hackles. (Among them, how you should feel about TWILIGHT, and so on and so forth.) Even after I admitted that TFIOS is, in fact, a good film, when I saw the latest drama over the weekend, I felt like pulling this entire discussion.

      Anyway–I understand your ambivalence. I kind of want to read one of the books at some point just to see for myself what all the fuss is about, you know? But I doubt it’ll happen anytime soon. I can totally see why it’d be tough to read given your background, too.

  23. Chelsea B.

    I am so freaking excited to see The Fault in Our Stars! Hopefully this week, with my mom. She hasn’t read the book, but said the trailer reminded her of A Walk to Remember, which is a favorite movie of hers.
    I put off reading TFIOS for so long, because I just hate feeling sad. But with the movie coming out it was nearly impossible for me to resist (I love reading the book before seeing the movie). So I compromised: I listened to the audiobook, which I found on Youtube. Guh. I fell in love. It’s so sweet and so funny and so, yes, sad. But I was expecting it, so it wasn’t too surprising. I don’t regret the sadness at all, and I attribute that completely to John Green’s amazing way with words.
    All in all, I am beside myself with wanting to see this movie! I enjoyed y’alls recap!

    • Wendy Darling

      See, I’ve been saying for ages that John Green is very Nicholas Sparks-y! I bet your mom will like it. I feel like this is a movie that’s really, really hard to dislike, unless you’re a very cynical person. (I mean, I’m cynical, but only to a certain degree. I always want to believe in the good of things.) Sounds like you need to run out and see it ASAP this week, though!

      And audiobook IS a good compromise! And omg, I’ve never thought about trying to find audiobooks on YouTube, that’s kind of ingenious. I’ll have to do some poking around there sometime.

  24. Tanja

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this movie girls. I cannot wait to go and see the movie myself next week but I know what to expect. While I did make some plans, so I’m going with bunch of friends who have nothing about this. Not a single thing (it’s a great thing that YA is not popular here sometimes) so I cannot wait to see their reaction. I hope to survive though as they might kick my ass for public humiliating, but let’s hope for the best! Great discussion, ladies
    Tanja recently posted…ARC Review – Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

    • Wendy Darling

      I actually enjoyed going into it somewhat uninformed, Tanja, so it’ll be interesting to hear what your non-YA-reading friends think of it! I hope you enjoy it. It’s all very well done.

  25. Mary @ BookSwarm

    There were animated text bubbles? *ponders* I feel like that would distract me. And I feel bad but I’m resisting seeing this movie. I’ve heard so much about it (yes, I did finally crack and read the book…which I bought when it first came out) and it’s all over the interwebz…it’s too much. And, as much as I want a YA adaptation to do well in the theater (as it’s done without me), I’m responding to it much like anything that’s overhyped: I’m ignoring its very existence. I know. I can’t help it. (I still haven’t seen Frozen, if that tells you anything.)

    But I love that you enjoyed it and that it stuck to the original plot of the novel because the story really was good.
    Mary @ BookSwarm recently posted…Top Off Tuesday: TANGLED INNOCENCE by Carrie Ann Ryan

    • Wendy Darling

      I think the text bubbles didn’t bother me so much in this case because the pacing and acting felt right in those scenes. But after seeing so many “Okay? Okay.” tee-shirts, mugs, etc, maybe I’d just expected it? Definitely bothered Kate, though, so I’m sure it bothered other people, too.

      I haven’t seen FROZEN yet either! Are we the only ones left in existence? I know what you mean about the massive hype. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see it either, and mostly just did it so we could have this discussion, since it’s a big thing in the YA community right now.

      But to be honest, after all the relentless hype, I know people are tired of TFIOS, and following that and the author’s unbelievable “Has a girl ever kissed a guy before ever?” musings, I wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic about posting this discussion. But it was done, so.

  26. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    I have avoided reading this book so far. I read Looking For Alaska and didn’t love it–I admit it was well done…but not really my cup of tea. I’m afraid to read TFIOS because of that. Also, I know it’ll be sad and I just don’t know if I want that. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary stories generally speaking. As for the movie..I imagine if I do see it I’ll cry and think it is amazing. So glad you two liked it. I hope that they continue to do good adaptations. Great review/discussion!
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Review of Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon

    • Wendy Darling

      I’m curious to see if his books merit all the fuss, but I’m still digging in my heels, Kristen. Especially for this book, because I don’t want to be this kind of sad, either! I think it’s easier to take this type of story in a film than it is in a book, so…let us know what you think if you do end up seeing it. :)

  27. Anne @ Lovely Literature

    I adore Emily Blunt (Young Victoria is one of my favorite movies), and I was in awe of her yoga prowess. And I agree about the final fight – could have been… just more. The whole movie amped up action, so it’s kind of hard to keep going up, but yeah. A little bit more effort would have been nice. Overall, will watch it again. I was happy to see the wuss Tom Cruise. :)
    Anne @ Lovely Literature recently posted…The best books we’ve read so far this year

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh yeah, since they showed her lifting up from the ground so many times, it’s nice they had such a lovely, lithe actor to do it, eh? She’s a pleasure to watch, and I need to see YOUNG VICTORIA sometime!

      I thought the action was so good throughout the whole film, so it was a bit of a letdown that the most important battle scenes didn’t wow me as much as they should have. And I’m one of those people who thinks stories like this are stronger/more memorable without the “epilogue” type ending, so all was as it was settled in the battle. (So hard to discuss without spoiling it for people who haven’t seen it!) Still a terrific scifi film, though. I would see it again, too. :)

  28. Maria (BearMountainBooks)

    I am far too much of a wimp to read a book like this or see the movie. Not because it’s YA but it’s just too emotional. I love a good YA read. Sometimes those who protest adults reading YA…I don’t think it’s their mortality they fear. I think they want everyone to focus on THEM and what is important to THEM–essentially they are too selfish!

    Some authors may protest YA because they don’t write YA and they view too much of it as not really important–as if it’s all angst and highschool and fingernail polish.

    But to me there’s an enthusiasm and a magic to many YA books. It’s a precious time of self-discover and one in which you get to watch characters grow. Some adult novels have this magic as well. Youth isn’t always an age. It’s a state of mind that includes discover and growth. I hope I never lose that magic!
    Maria (BearMountainBooks) recently posted…Dog Days of Summer

    • Wendy Darling

      I love emotional books and films and I love crying over things, but I find it really hard to take the plunge into stories about people who are sick or dying. That’s a whole level of reality that I’m not prepared to subject myself to too often, though I’m glad I saw this film. I have to say, I don’t think it’s THAT bad as far as making you cry. You feel enormous sympathy for them and it’s definitely very sad and moving. But it didn’t tear my heart out, if you see what I’m saying.

      Adults who protest YA really are extremely self-centered, not to mention snobby. I really dislike that kind of attitude in general (people dismissive of romance, for example) or even within YA towards certain subgenres. I don’t think you should ever apologize for liking something, and those Slate types of posts can have a really detrimental effect–not towards those of us who already read it, of course, but to those who might have thought about trying out YA but are then hesitant to do so. STOP STIGMATIZING. And generalizing.

      It would be nice if these people actually read a decent amount of recently published YA before blaring their opinions, too. How seriously are we supposed to take a movie critic who hasn’t seen a movie made in the last 20 years, for example? Honestly.

  29. Effie M.

    I haven’t seen it yet. I know, I know! But my teenage daughter and I are supposed to go see it together and she bailed on me for a concert! So, we will be seeing it sometime this week, and i cannot wait. I have watched every single video I could get my hands on prior to it’s release, so I know I will love it. And the idea that i should stop and get a box of tissue on the way has been completely affirmed, given the reviews. I love that one of you had read the book before going and one had not. But seriously. read the book, Wendy! I was a late holdout too, only reading it a couple months ago. If I know “everyone” is jumping on a book/series bandwagon I automatically ignore it. Until some of the hype dies down. Like Dr. Who, which I just started watching this year, and now I’m all “Next season, please!”

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh man, forget your daughter and go on your own if she can’t make it this week! It’s worth seeing for sure, and it sounds like you’re gonna love it. Definitely arm yourself with tissues. I was prepared to be all cynical about it if the story wasn’t working for me, but it won me over and I would have been a slobbering mess if we hadn’t stopped for those tissues. I think Kate and I got 12 travel packs, hah.

      And I don’t know, Effie…I’m still not really in the mood to read a story like this. Maybe some day, though!

      • Effie M.

        I think I may take that advice and go to the matinee tomorrow!

          • Effie M.

            Well, we went on Wednesday and it totally wrecked me in the very best ways. I knew I was in major trouble when the entire audience filing out from the showing before us were all red eyed, sniffly, with tear streaked faces. And my daughter came as well. We made a night of it with sushi before the show and bubble tea after. Complete win for the night.

            I think the movie was probably the most true to the book of any book-to-movie conversion I have ever seen. I can’t think of a single thing i would have changed.

  30. Brenda

    I haven’t really been in a place where I’m ready to read a story about people dying either. Although, it sounds like a pretty powerful book/movie. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is one that my child and I are eagerly awaiting, and I’m hoping I can twist some arms to go see Maleficent. I’ve heard some very good things about it and a possible revisioning of another classic fairy tale.

    • Wendy Darling

      Yeah, I’d heard all the stories of people reading the book and weeping, and I haven’t been able to handle it. I’m okay with accepting that I might not ever be in that place, or at least anytime soon.

      I’m SO excited for HTTYD2! I didn’t expect to enjoy the first film (I have…feelings regarding the usual Dreamworks Animation projects), but I love love loved it.

      And YES, please see MALEFICENT! I think there were a couple of pacing issues in the middle, and one part could have been improved. But overall, it was surprisingly enthralling. Angelina is pitch perfect in this role, and the amount of emotion you feel for her character is unbelievable. They took a lot of risks with their revisionist story, and I am crazy about the ending in particular.

  31. starryeyedjen

    My grandfather passed last night, so I’m glad I saw this movie on Saturday with my younger sister because I don’t think I’d make it through it now. I’m not saying this for pity’s sake, just to emphasize just how much this movie (and the book) force you to take a second look at your life and your own mortality. I loved this as an adaptation because they kept SO much of the book, especially the adult roles and their importance to the main characters. I loved your discussion, ladies, and I hope this continues to be a thing. :) We’ll be taking the lil one to see both Maleficent and How to Train Your Dragon 2 very soon, so I’m very glad to see that the first was very well-received by you, Wendy. :D
    starryeyedjen recently posted…{Movie} Review: The Fault in Our Stars

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, Jen. I’m so sorry to hear that. ((( hugs ))) I think a story like this definitely resonates with anyone who’s ever lost someone dear to them, particularly from a long illness. Emily from Book Jems was saying on Twitter that her mom is a cancer survivor, and she came out of the theater saying that the film expressed so much of what she went through.

      It is so nice to see positive adult/teen relationships, isn’t it? I know it’s in fashion to diss parents and authority figures, but I think these kinds of portrayals are important to see, too. You and your daughter will LOVE Maleficent, Jen! Before the film, I couldn’t figure out what they were going to do to make us feel sympathy for this character, but they succeeded well beyond what I could have imagined. I loved it. Definitely will make my faves for the year.

      I’m sorry again, dearling. It’s never easy to lose someone you love. I hope you’re surrounded by friends and family.

  32. Carina Olsen

    I have yet to see this. But in three days I will :D And I cannot wait. <3 As I did love the book, hih. Anyway. Amazing post you guys :D I'm not sure yet what I think of the actors. I don't like Shailene's voice :p Heh. And I think Ansel looks so so so young :\ Hmph. But I'm hoping to like them in this movie :D They look cute at least, hih :) I'm so glad you guys loved the movie. <3 Well, you mostly love it :D Sigh. I cannot wait to see it.
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Cress Tuesday #33

    • Wendy Darling

      I hear a lot of people say that about Shai’s voice, hah. I don’t always love the husky voice thing, but I like hers! So funny how we all respond to things so different. I bet she’ll win you over in the movie, though. Ansel DOES look young. Maybe it’s partly his character, though? Innocent and eager and sweet?

      Can’t wait to hear what you think of it, Carina!

      • Kate Bond

        I really like Shailene’s voice. I’ve always wanted to sound husky. A lot of people agree with you, though.

        I think Ansel looks crazy young. I mean, he looks the right age for the role, but it really makes you notice that SHE isn’t.

        I can’t wait til you get to see it!

  33. danielle hammelef

    I read the book and can’t wait to see the movie. Thanks for the review!

  34. Anne @ Lovely Literature

    I saw the movie is without reading the book (although I knew how it ended) and enjoyed it a lot. It had a good mix of humor, sadness and some poignancy, but I enjoyed the chemistry between the two actors. I think the friendship aspect of it (not just romantic) was endearing! In order to not weep around strangers, I looked away from the screen when she’s in bed getting news from her parents. That was hard to even watch peripherally! Also, I also saw Edge of Tomorrow and actually loved it! What did you guys think of it?
    Anne @ Lovely Literature recently posted…The best books we’ve read so far this year

    • Wendy Darling

      Ah hah, you saw it the same way I did. I guessed the ending ahead of time and Kate confirmed it for me, so I knew going in, too.

      I really, really liked that they were such good friends, too. And to some extent, I understand that a huge amount of sizzling sexual chemistry might not necessarily work on screen in a story like this anyway, when it’s such a sweet, squeaky clean plot and so much of it is focused on their sickness. I totally agree there were parts that were hard to watch, too. They did such a great job (everyone concerned, in front of and behind the cameras) in hitting the right emotional beats, and that’s so hard to do in a film like this without being maudlin.

      I really liked EOT! Emily Blunt was seriously kickass, and I liked that Tom Cruise played a different sort of character than usual, though you’d never know it from the trailers. I basically enjoyed the whole thing, although I thought the ending scenes could have been better. Both the final climactic fight (his and hers) and the aftermath. I’m glad you enjoyed it, too, and I hope more people go see it.

      • Anne @ Lovely Literature

        I adore Emily Blunt (Young Victoria is one of my favorite movies), and I was in awe of her yoga prowess. And I agree about the final fight – could have been… just more. The whole movie amped up action, so it’s kind of hard to keep going up, but yeah. A little bit more effort would have been nice. Overall, will watch it again. I was happy to see the wuss Tom Cruise. :)
        Anne @ Lovely Literature recently posted…The best books we’ve read so far this year

      • Kate Bond

        I liked the friendship aspect of their relationship, but I JUST saw them playing brother and sister in Divergent, and they interact too much like close siblings for me to be comfortable with their, you know, having hotel time together. I blame this on her being so much older than he is; he’s probably a lot less mature in real life because he’s still a teenage boy.

        EoT: really, really good, although the ending was a little bit weak (although, really, I wouldn’t have been happy with an ending that wasn’t at least somewhat positive). Tom Cruise was SO FREAKING GOOD, and Emily Blunt was perfect.