The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff

Directed by Josh Boone
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
June 5, 2014

A crappy cancer movie from a crappy cancer book. Be honest – that's what you're thinking. Prejudging is easy when it comes to The Fault in Our Stars, the movie version of John Green's 2012 young-adult bestseller about a present-day Romeo and Juliet, both starcrossed by the Big C.

It turns out The Fault in Our Stars isn't total crap on the page or on the screen. Green made the wise choice to be funny in telling his sad story. And the film, directed by Josh Boone from a wittily nuanced script by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, of (500) Days of Summer, follows suit.

It's a fresh, lively love story, brimming with humor and heartbreak, and lifted to the heights by Shailene Woodley, 22, a sublime actress with a résumé, from The Descendants to Divergent, that pretty much proves she's incapable of making a false move on camera.

Woodley plays Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old whose thyroid cancer forces her to wear tubes in her nose and drag around an oxygen tank. As a look, it sucks. And Hazel knows it. Plus, she has a mouth on her.

What makes Hazel puke more than chemo is her cancer support group. That is, until she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort, wonderful), a full-on charmer who is in remission since his osteosarcoma necessitated that one of his legs be removed from the kneedown. Gus is in group to support his buddy Isaac, played by Nat Wolff, so fine in Palo Alto and equally outstanding here. Isaac has lost one eye to cancer, with the other likely to go.

Depressing? You'd think. But the actors, under Boone's astute direction, never hit the pedal on self-pity. Hazel tells Gus her literary obsession is An Imperial Affliction, by Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe, superb), a recluse who ended his novel in midsentence and high-tailed it to Amsterdam. Hazel is consumed with finding Van Houten. So off she goes to Amsterdam, with her clumsy breathing apparatus, her mother (Laura Dern) and loyal Gus. Hard truths are learned. On a visit to Anne Frank's attic, Hazel and Gus share a kiss.

Hold on. It only sounds awful. Woodley and Elgort, siblings in Divergent, are way cool as lovers, putting a hip, hotblooded spin on what could be maudlin mush. They find the tale's comic spirit without losing its tragic fervor. Say what you will about the faults in Fault. It gets to you.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    • Child of God
      star rating
      Well Go USA Entertainment
    • lucy
      star rating
      Universal Pictures
    • star rating
      IFC Films
    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “San Francisco Mabel Joy”

    Mickey Newbury | 1969

    A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

    More Song Stories entries »