Based on the bestselling novel, The Fault in our Stars is one of the best movie adaptations of a book I have ever seen. Of course a movie can never capture all the details and scenes of a book but what was left out was selected well and did not take away from the overall effect of the story.
The movie made its debut in 2014 and at the time I did not go to the theater to see it. I was told by some trusted friends who had walked out of the movie that is was insulting to Christians and glorifying teenage sex as a way to "fill a void" or ease the pain they were facing. After recently reading the book, I finally watched the movie and I discovered, this is not the case at all.
Short Synopsis - This is a brilliantly written story about Hazel Grace Lancaster, a young 16 year old girl who is terminally ill. She meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters, a handsome older teen who also had cancer, was cancer free but then ends up with cancer again. We see Hazel and Augustus' friendship, quickly blossom into young love but intense love as these two will never grow into adults to realize a lifetime of love as most of us have the privilege of doing. Throughout the movie we see some other characters such as Hazel's parents and their friend Isaac, who is blind due to his own battle with cancer. Although this movie is full of terminally ill teens you will find yourself laughing as well as crying at their clever wit and wisdom as they face their inevitable fates.
PG13 Rating - This is an appropriate rating for this movie due to the intensity of the story, the language and the sexual content.
Spiritual Content - Some of the story takes place in the "literal heart of Jesus" which is a basement of a church, where a support group for terminally ill teens meets. The leader of the group seems a bit lame, strumming his guitar and leading words of encouragement in unison with the group - "we're here for you Hazel". There are multiple references to God, some characters believe in "something" others do not. We see conversations about afterlife and angels. None of this was offensive to me and I am a Believer, a Christian.
Why wasn't the spiritual content offensive to me as a Believer (I prefer that term over Christian these days)? Because I am not afraid of questions about faith or afraid of people who do not believe what I believe. I do not think this movie was "making fun" of the Christian faith; as a matter of fact there is a funeral scene that was clearly a Christian funeral with the Bible quoted and a prayer "in the name of Jesus". Overall, I don't think we should take ourselves (Christians/Believers) too seriously, the support group scenes are kind of goofy but can we admit, sometimes those types of meetings are goofy? The end result though is the support group did its job, it brought a group of friends together and made them stronger. So as goofy as it was, it was sincere and effective.
Profanity - is used in the movie but not extensively. For a complete list of profane language used throughout the movie see the Plugged In Review.
Sexual content - there is some of this in the form of a few make out scenes and one encounter with the two main characters, Augustus and Hazel. They do have sex although it is not shown during the movie. The most you see is Hazel without a shirt on (from the back) then the scene changes to them lying in bed covered up but undressed. These encounters are in no way depicted as a way of "filling a void". These interactions are just a part of the relationships shown in the movie. It is not the main focus of the movie or the overall story. If you are offended by this - fast forward through it or use a device that edits out sexual content as you watch.
Violence - there is a particularly intense scene where trophies are broken as a way to release some rage. Also there is an egg throwing scene where Augustus and Hazel help Isaac blow off some steam.
Drugs & Alcohol - some champagne drinking in Amsterdam.
Overall, I highly recommend the book and the movie. This is one of those stories that will stick with you and help you see your life and world in a better light. You will be encouraged and challenged as you go on this journey with Hazel and Augustus.
Heartfelt movie watching...get your tissues ready.
Image Credit: Global Panorama on Flickr
Wife, mother, psychology major, writer, dreamer, God chaser, book revolutionist, coffee shop wanderer, passionate about people and society past, present and future...
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