In the interest of transparency, it must be noted that I am and remain a loyal devotee of John Green. It isn’t just his tortured teen romances that set my literary heart aflame, but it’s also that his bewitching and keen sense for writing dialogue bars none. Needless to say, I expected quite a lot from this film. Sure, I wore my waterproof mascara, stuffed a few Kleenex in my purse for good measure and even bought a bucket of popcorn in case I needed to remind myself that I wasn’t at the epicenter of this wayward teen romance gone awry. I mean c’mon, a girl’s got to prep, right? The TFIOS trailer alone whittled me down so that I knew I had to prepare in the interest of self preservation.
For those somehow unfamiliar with the tale of Gus (Ansel Elgort) and Hazel Grace (Shailene Woodley), let us review. Hazel is the heroine of this tale. She is beautiful, intelligent and otherwise utterly perfect, save for the fact that she has stage 4 cancer. At 16-years-old, she is already beyond her years. She dotes on her parents, America’s Next Top Model and reading. In many ways, her life is everything she could hope it to be.
Then, enter Gus. One day the two, in perhaps the most cliche moment of the film, haphazardly bump into one another before a cancer support group meeting. Gus, whose cancer is in remission, is immediately drawn to Hazel for her obvious beauty and wit. She too is intrigued by this smart, hot (let’s just face it) and charming boy.
A friendship quickly forms, and the two become nearly inseparable. Oh yes, they also go to Amsterdam on an errant mission to track down Hazel’s favorite author (William Dafoe) as well. Here, Hazel, despite her fears and reservations about the future, admits her love for Gus. My, oh my that Anne Frank house scene. Am I right?
As for the ending, I refuse to go into more detail. It’s simply too evocative to miss and I doubt I, nor any reviewer out there, would risk betraying such a profoundly beautiful story. Some things you just have to see for yourself.
Simply put, the acting is everything fans everywhere were craving. Woodley and Elgort were subtle, sexy and sweet all at once. And, despite the fact that some general subplot details failed to make it to the big screen, the film was very well done. In many respects, TFIOS did miraculously live up the gigantic hype.
I laughed, I cried into my bucket of popcorn and I left the theater feeling shattered and complete all at once. Few films can have such awe-inspiring effects, especially when they’re derived from YA fiction. So, maybe I’m a hopeless romantic. Maybe I’m too sentimental about the book, the characters and even the famed author himself. I can deal with that. After all, TFIOS gave me the little bit of infinity I had been craving and, for that, I was entirely grateful.