Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

An adaptation of a supposedly popular book (I hadn't even heard of it until the trailer was forced my way - it seems to be a big thing among teens) about a teenager, Hazel (Shailene Woodley), who is dying thanks to some form of cancer. At a cancer support group, Hazel meets Gus (who spends 90% of his screen-time creepily smiling at Hazel), who has been in remission for over a year, and the two form a romance.

Death, however, lingers on the horizon and Hazel's narration will try and have you believe that this isn't some clichéd, happy story you'd get in a film (something like that). And while it may not be the type of film she describes, it is still very much a clichéd film. It's final form is that of a weepie, where the film tries to manipulate a gullible audience into tears by glossing over any hardship/despair (that sort of stuff isn't profitable/appealing, and would probably just depress the audience) and trying to make the whole thing seem uplifting (they'd probably call it 'touching'). It's as if the film is trying to portray cancer as a blessing (basically, they romanticise it all). Though I haven't been diagnosed with the stuff (I could have it for all I know, though), so perhaps things are like the film portrays. Regardless, the film provides nothing new and is the sort of thing I've seen many times before (place it under 'teen-illness and romance' - off the top of my head, 'Now is Good' comes to mind).

The rest of the audience did seem to be in thrall to the film. As the film neared its end, I could hear the sniffling around me. Taking a quick glance to my left and I saw the tears gushing down the face of a woman. To my right, and two rows forward, a man was apparently doing something odd with his elbow (smothering his face with his arm) in a failed attempt to control his emotions. It made me think of that 'Oscar Gold' bit in the 'American Dad' episode 'Tearjerker'.

The reaction of the audience to the film and my consequential reaction to them caused me to reflect upon myself. You see, I was seemingly the only person in the audience not even remotely touched by the events on the screen. Am I as heartless as some people accuse me of? Not only that, but I was powerless to stop a smirk as I grew aware of what was going on in my surroundings. Such sights warm the cockles of my heart (so I guess that means I have some kind of heart).

I would like to say that, even though I had no emotional investment, I still sat through the film easily enough. It wasn't exactly the most taxing watch and Shailene Woodley does nothing wrong. Unfortunately, the film just keeps on going, with its two hour run-time stretching whatever content it has beyond what it can handle (which was partly why I was also looking around at the audience towards the end). This did nothing for me. All I could see was some generic, romanticised film.

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