The Fault in Our Stars was a phenomenon long before it hit theaters. Based on the best-selling novel (which has sold 10.7 million copies to date) by household-name author John Green, the trailer for the screen adaptation garnered more than 21 million views on YouTube and became the most “liked” video in YouTube history. It was also number one at the box office this, its opening weekend, pulling in $48 million. A film is considered successful if its box office numbers double its original budget over the course of its theatrical run. The Fault in Our Stars has pulled in four times its budget over the course of three days. When a movie rolls in with the fangirl and fanboy fanfare blaring at deafening volume, it’s completely understandable that one would be wary of the blisteringly intense exposure. How can a film possibly measure up to its expectations when its expectations are stratospheric? But this is the magician’s trick of The Fault in Our Stars, which manages to be hilarious, heartbreaking, and deeply human — even in the face of all the hype.
The film tells the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster (played to perfection by Shailene Woodley), an intensely thoughtful, always-on-her-guard, terminally ill teen cancer patient who, at her cancer support group, meets the handsome and could-charm-the-skin-off-a-snake likable teen cancer survivor Augustus “Gus” Waters (Ansel Elgort in the most heart-throbbing breakout male role since Leonardo DiCaprio graced the decks of the Titanic). Gus woos Hazel by getting The Genie Foundation (Make-a-Wish’s fictional stand-in here) to fly the teenagers to Amsterdam so that Hazel can meet her favorite author (a nicely done cameo by Willem Dafoe). Then, things take a turn for the worse for these star-crossed lovers, lest we not forget this is a story about teens with cancer that derives its title from Shakespearean tragedy Julius Caesar.
Every element of this movie sings, from the impeccable casting to the gracefully faithful book-to-film script adaptation to Josh Boone’s pitch-perfect direction. Believe the hype. This film has earned it.