No faults with these stars

Young ac­tors deliver emo­tion in witty and warm screen­play

Marlborough Midweek - - Front Page -

you’re a lit­tle kid, cry­ing can also help you ma­nip­u­late people.

The value of a good sob wasn’t lost on any­one at the screen­ing I at­tended of the teenagers-with­cancer film The Fault in Our Stars. The au­di­ence, which was dom­i­nated by teenage girls, had few prob­lems with let­ting their emo­tions out. In fact, the row be­hind me was pretty much blub­ber­ing for the last 20 min­utes.

Based on the best-seller by John Green, the movie tells the story of Hazel and Au­gus­tus, a cou­ple of smart teenagers who meet at a sup­port group for young cancer pa­tients.

Hazel, played by Shai­lene Wood­ley, is liv­ing with ter­mi­nal thy­roid cancer that has wrecked her lungs. Au­gus­tus, played by Ansel El­gort, has lost a leg to os­teosar­coma.

The out­go­ing Au­gus­tus and the thought­ful Hazel hang out, share their sto­ries, and soon fall for each other in clas­sic star-crossed lovers style.

The cast also in­cludes Laura Dern as Hazel’s mum and Willem Dafoe as her favourite writer.

Hot on the heels of Di­ver­gent, Wood­ley continues to im­press. For a young Hol­ly­wood ac­tress there is some­thing very down-to-earth about her.

There is noth­ing in-your-face about her style of act­ing yet her per­for­mances reg­is­ter be­cause she is so be­liev­able in ev­ery role. It’s the same here.

Wood­ley doesn’t look sick but she is so emo­tion­ally con­vinc­ing you buy it. Hazel is sar­cas­tic yet kind, young yet ma­ture and ide­al­is­tic yet real­is­tic. It’s not of­ten such a low-key char­ac­ter car­ries a film but Wood­ley pulls it off with lit­tle ap­par­ent ef­fort.

El­gort also does well in the less clearly de­fined role of Au­gus­tus. Over-the-top and with an opin­ion on ev­ery­thing, Au­gus­tus oc­ca­sion­ally tries too hard but the world is a bet­ter place with him in it.

El­gort does an ex­cel­lent job of con­vinc­ing us he has fallen head­over-heels for Hazel and it’s nice to see a young man play­ing an out­ra­geous ro­man­tic for a change.

The crisp screen­play by Michael H. We­ber and Scott Neustadter is witty, en­gag­ing and be­liev­able. The pair also wrote the won­der­ful

and the ac­claimed which also starred Wood­ley.

Di­rec­tor Josh Boone does a top job of bring­ing it all to­gether, giv­ing the char­ac­ters room to breathe and mak­ing great use of the win­ning script. In less gifted hands, The Fault

could have eas­ily turned into some­thing mawk­ish. Like its young stars, The Fault

is a hard film not to like. The only crit­i­cism I can make is that its char­ac­ters are a lit­tle too good to be true. Apart from that it’s a win­ner. Bot­tom line: warm, witty, wise and oc­ca­sion­ally won­der­ful.

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