RE­VIEWS

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch Now show­ing Vil­lage Cin­e­mas

BASED on the young adult novel by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars hits the tear ducts of its tar­get au­di­ence like a weep- seek­ing mis­sile.

How­ever, those who know of the heavy mis­ery that awaits in this movie will also be across the in­con­gru­ous light­ness of touch at work else­where in this sincerely af­fect­ing af­fair.

While this teen ro­mance is doomed from the out­set – so it goes when your Romeo and Juliet are cancer- crossed lovers – it also pre­pares its au­di­ence for the fall to come with sur­pris­ing warmth, wit and pos­i­tiv­ity.

The win­ning combo of the shame­lessly melo­dra­matic and the slyly mis­chievous that pow­ers The Fault in Our Stars starts and ends with yet an­other pitch- per­fect lead per­for­mance from Shai­lene Wood­ley ( Di­ver­gent).

She plays Hazel, a 17- year- old long di­ag­nosed with stage- four thy­roid and lung cancer. It is not a mat­ter of if the dis­ease will claim her. Just a cold, hard case of when.

While Hazel is fully aware time is run­ning out, she is also acutely in tune with what time it is.

GRACE OF MONACO

There­fore, she in­vari­ably has a wise­crack at the ready. Some­times as a de­fence mech­a­nism for deal­ing with the pity of oth­ers that is al­ways nearby.

Af­ter some con­sid­er­able de­lib­er­a­tion – and en­dur­ing some in­suf­fer­ably smi­ley sup­port­group ther­apy ses­sions to please her wor­ried par­ents – Hazel drops her guard and per­mits her­self a boyfriend.

His name is Au­gus­tus ( Ansel El­gort) and as a re­cently con­firmed cancer sur­vivor, he un­der­stands a lit­tle bit about what Hazel is go­ing through.

EDGE OF TO­MOR­ROW

But not all of it. If Au­gus­tus is go­ing to get to know the real Hazel – the con­fi­dent, in­se­cure, self­less and serenely self- aware Hazel – then he is go­ing to have to truly earn the priv­i­lege.

Some view­ers ( es­pe­cially those un­fa­mil­iar with the book) are bound to have dif­fi­cul­ties warm­ing to the char­ac­ter of Au­gus­tus, as El­gort’s semi- smug line de­liv­ery can be jar­ring in the film’s more se­ri­ous mo­ments.

Again, Wood­ley is con­sis­tently there to pick up any per­ceived slack. She is the rea­son it is al­most im­pos­si­ble not to be­come in­vested in how Hazel and Au­gus­tus are trav­el­ling as a cou­ple through­out the film.

A sub- plot in­volv­ing Willem Dafoe play­ing a fa­mous au­thor based in an­other coun­try could be an­other stick­ing point for un­com­mit­ted on­look­ers.

Nev­er­the­less, what The Fault in Our Stars does well as an en­gag­ing and emo­tion­ally in­tense roller­coaster ride, it does very well in­deed.

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