Technically, I have never read 'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Green. Before avid fans gasp in horror, I listened to it on audio, read by Kate Rudd. It was a spur of the moment purchase and one I do not regret.
For those oblivious to the book in question, 'The Fault in Our Stars' is a love story of two teens in remission from their respective cancers. It is an impacting novel, which deals with the realities of life, without drowning the reader in melancholy. It has a stark, striking humour and poignancy which stays with the reader long after the final world.
I am not typically optimistic when it comes to film adaptations of books I enjoy, let alone love. Yet from the moment I watched and re-watched the first trailer for The Fault in Our Stars, I was optimistic. I waited eagerly for the 6 June US release. So when the announcement that there would be an early screening for fans in NYC came, I knew I had to attend.
Currently, I've been a little under the weather health-wise, thanks to a lovely bout of rain at the end of April. So when today came and I did not wake up magically cured (this optimism thing of mine may have exceeded a little too far) I thought it might not be the best idea to wait in the sun for hours for the mere chance of attending an early screening of a film.
Some time passed, and I could breath easily - which is more than Hazel Grace Lancaster could - so I made up my mind to shower and head out to join the queue of hundreds of TFiOS fans at the SVA Theater. I'm so glad that I did. I arrived at around 1pm, and waited in the changing weather (sunny, shady, sparse showers) with complete strangers, who were kindred enthusiastic fans. I met so many wonderful people, and saw a wide array of fan-made TFiOS apparel.
Cameras came by to film the crowd and interview a few people. Posters were handed out: beautiful Venn diagrams filled with quotes. We all counted down the hours and the minutes, and speculated about the film and the experience.
More than five hours later we gained entrance, with our ticket stubs. There were two theatres, one which I was informed held 400+ people, and another more than 200. I have no idea which I was in or which might have held priority for seating or possible Q&A sessions. All I cared about was the chance to see the film, and it had arrived. When the room was packed, the lights dimmed and we were treated to an introduction to the film by the author, John Green, the director, Josh Boone, and Nat Wolff, one of the actors who portrays the character of Isaac.
Then the film began. This was, of course, no ordinary screening. I was surrounded by people who were familiar with the story and the characters. They cheered, applauded, and cried. It was amazing to co-experience something so important to so many people. Our shared enthusiasm resounded in the theatre.
I am ecstatic to say that the film - in my opinion - was brilliantly adapted. That's from the mouth of a film adaptation sceptic like myself. The cinematography and the soundtrack reflected the elating and palpable feel of the novel. I also loved the way that the sketched speech bubbles were incorporated to illustrate the texts between Gus and Hazel.
What really blew me away, of course, was the acting. John Green had praised the actors, but it wasn't clear to me until I saw it for myself. The sheer subtext in the glances shared between Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort in one moment could portray all that was expressed in Hazel's narrative. It was spectacular, and the entire film and cast of characters breathed new life into The Fault in Our Stars, and made it more tangible to me than ever before.
Of course, there were many scenes, characters, and favourite lines which were changed or cut out in the film. These things are apparent to fans of the novel, even without a recent re-read, yet the way in which the film progressed was perfectly paced and the alterations were understandable. By the end of the movie, I was smiling through my tears.
I fell in love with 'The Fault in Our Stars' film the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once. It is certainly headlining as one of my favourite book-to-film adaptations and I cannot wait to see it again.