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The Fault in Our Stars: a full-throttle, by-the-numbers tearjerker

Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort) share a tender moment during a memorable trip to Amsterdam.

James Bridges/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

2 out of 4 stars

Title
The Fault in Our Stars
Written by
Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Directed by
Jeff Boone
Starring
Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell
Classification
PG
Country
USA
Language
English
Year
2014

I'm not sure how I'd react if a pair of teenagers – even a pair like Hazel Grace (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort) started passionately kissing in the attic of the Anne Frank House – but I doubt I'd start slow clapping. But that's what spectators do in Josh Boone's tissue-shredding adaptation of John Green's young adult bestseller The Fault in Our Stars and, while it may not conform to one's real-life expectations it certainly hews tightly to teen-flick conventions.

Although ostensibly a movie about how two doomed lovers refuse to march to society's drumbeat when it comes to fatal illness – she has stage 4 cancer and he's also a survivor – Fault is at heart a full-throttle, by-the-numbers tearjerker. The two principals are winningly, almost impossibly, loveable, Woodley's unsentimental Hazel melting inexorably in face of Elgort's take-no-prisoners campaign of puppy dog persistence, and Gus himself bearing a mile-wide goofball grin that would do the young Jeff Bridges proud.

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