The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.
I’ll be honest: I expected to hate this movie because I figured the characters would be unlikable, annoying, bratty teenagers that I just cannot relate to anymore. Wow, was I wrong. Hazel Grace and Gus are some of the most enjoyable people I’ve seen on the big screen in a while. They’re genuine, honest, and intelligent. They make this film special. Shailene Woodley is so much better here than I’ve seen her in the past (and working with a much better script than Divergent, for example). Though I liked Ansel Elgort in the Carrie remake, there is a charm about him here that surpasses even Tommy Ross. I not only liked these characters, but I genuinely cared about them. Even more surprising, the supporting cast was equally as strong. Hazel Grace’s parents – played expertly by Laura Dern and Sam Trammell – are just as likable, and play an important role in Hazel’s health and future, instead of just being in the background like in many teen films. It would be criminal not to note also how well Nat Wolff does as the blind friend, Isaac. He made me laugh a lot throughout the film.
Hazel Grace and Gus are teenage cancer patients who fall in love. It’s a simple story that we’ve all seen a thousand times in the past. Fortunately, The Fault in Our Stars manages to rise above many of the cliches associated with these types of films, and the script delivers real, believable people that are dealing with a shitty situation. The dialogue is witty, intelligent, and often times hilarious. I have not read the book that this film is based on, but the movie stands on its own incredibly well. The pace does slow down a bit toward the end, but necessarily so in order to tell the story. This isn’t a cancer movie, but rather a love story, and a mighty fine one at that.
Josh Boone does an excellent job here, finding all the right comedic moments. Even more impressive, he never pulls any punches when the not-so-funny moments happen. He forces us to live in those moments just as the characters are, and though some may call that a cheap plot device to garner sympathy, it never comes off as that. Instead, it feels like we are deepening our relationship with the characters, which is pretty incredible. Boone always lets the right moments live, and this makes these characters feel like real, tangible people. That’s pretty good for a “plot device”.
When a film moves me, or touches me in a deep and sincere way, it is something I cannot forget. The Fault in Our Stars did just that. Aside from weeping like a child, the film showed me how lucky I really am. Maybe I fell for that cheap plot device hook, line, and sinker, but I walked away from this feeling a bit lighter, and like my problems didn’t matter quite as much. That is a tangible feeling, and makes me happy that I’m still a sucker for a good chick flick.
This took me on an emotional roller coaster, but I would happily revisit in the future. The characters are too good to never get to meet again. I’ll probably track down the novel the film is based on as well.
The Fault in Our Stars is a chick flick at heart, but it delivers a powerful and meaningful message of love. I’m just glad I’m not too cynical to appreciate it (while some may argue that I’m a sucker for falling for it). The Fault in Our Stars comes highly recommended.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.