I know, to be a modern pseudo-liberal, one must abhor John Green for daring to write about people not like him in every single way — but one of the movies I enjoyed the most recently was The Fault in Our Stars.
While by no means perfect, one of the main things I liked about it is that it takes the intensity and reality of teenage emotions and life changes seriously. Especially this is needed as an antidote to the view of many adults that nothing that happens to anyone under 21 is real. But I remember being a teenager very well and many things seemed — and were — much more consequential to me then than they are now as an adult. And of course with cancer in the mix this intensifies it all the more.
I’ve not read the book but the film at least aspires to be a lot of things, and achieves most of them. And unsurprisingly, Shailene Woodley is just excellent outside of the Divergent bore-fest. And Laura Dern is always great but here she’s in top form indeed.
Also it is a shockingly intelligent film, with even some references to neuroethics and other correctly-explained bits of science — which rarely happen in any movie much less one featuring teens.
Why it’s “exploitation” when John Green writes about young people but not when Alaya Dawn Johnson or the even-older Suzanne Collins (53) does so I will never understand — but either way, the movie is worth watching for Woodley’s performance alone.
Just like life the film provides no comfortable answers nor obvious choices but rather asks what we will do with the time that we have while it is still ours.