The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

(On Cable TV, August 2015)  I really wasn’t expecting to like this film as much as I did.  Or even, having recently seen a friend die of cancer, to like it at all.  But The Fault in Our Stars prides itself on being quite unlike any of the other cancer movies out there in telling us about two teenagers meeting at a cancer support group.  The sarcastic dialogue and caustic gallows humor that follows is almost immediately charming in its own way, with both Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort being likable teenagers stuck in terrible situations.  Heartwarming without being cloying, merciless without being hopeless, The Fault in Our Stars makes much out of depressing material – it’s an enjoyable and funny film about something terrible and sad.  The stars motif is interesting, the comic set-pieces are memorable, and Willem Defoe brings an element of mystery, then frustration in the mix.  The script is on-point and if the film does feel a touch too long during its Amsterdam segment, it’s ruthlessly curt coming back from it as it destroys expectations.  Telling you more about the film would be a disservice; take a look and enjoy it for yourself.

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