Who is in it?
Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort , Laura Dern, Willem Dafoe
What is it about?
2 teenagers meet at a cancer support group and fall in love. Hilarity ensues. Well more hilarity ensues than you would expect.
Why did I want to watch it?
John Green is an incredibly interesting person who vlogs to his brother once a week, does fabulous work for charity including projectforawesome , has a fan community called Nerdfighters (of which I am a part) and is also a very good, Forbes honoured, writer of fiction. He wrote the book for the film I am reviewing here today. If he hadn’t done all the things I mentioned, I would never have been introduced to his writing, and subsequently this film. The Green brothers’ motto is Don’t Forget To Be Awesome (DFTBA). He is frequently awesome and so since I enjoyed the book and knew of his involvement with the film, I had high expectations.
Did I like it?
The film plays around with the clichés around cancer stories and whilst not entirely schmaltz free, certainly has a discernible edge. This is not a predictable story. You may think you will be able to guess the ending but you won’t and hopefully, like me, you will be charmed by it, irrespective of if you are familiar with the book.
I found it refreshing and sweet and the casting choices are exceptional. I am pretty sure there is no one else who could play Willem Defoe’s character and the other choices fit seamlessly into my head when reading the book (which I did the minute I finished the film).
It was one of the most interesting book adaptations I have encountered. I expected things to be cut out for the compressed timeframe of the film, however they have played fast and loose with the book’s timeline without losing the core integrity of the book or significantly changing the message…enjoy what life you have.
NB: This is a criticism of the film which is a comparison with the book which in no way detracts from the quality of the film.
The film loses almost all of the beautiful literary passages from the book, which I understand, but I missed them – not least the Shakespearian quote of the title – and am hoping for some on the dvd extras.
Should you watch it?
What is your tolerance for tearjerkers? Anywhere form moderate to high – this is a must see.
Does it pass the Bechdel Test? http://bechdeltest.com/
Yep, plenty of lovely mother and daughter chats. The named female characters barely talk about men at all (they are preoccupied with higher concerns). On a side note – the father-daughter chats are also lovely.
Other films it DOSEN’T remind me of:
Sweet November, 50/50, Steel Magnolias, Love and Other Drugs. They all have a place in my heart (well not 50/50) but this film carves its own bittersweet tale.
Watch this instead/as well/before/after:
Read the book. It is worth your time.
The Perks of Being A Wallflower, another interesting book adaptation featuring young people dealing with life and the myriad challenges it presents.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries webseries created by John Green’s brother, Hank. Pride & Prejudice as a youtube blog. It really works.
The Vlogbrothers videos – example https://www.youtube.com/user/vlogbrothers?hl=en-GB&gl=GB