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film review

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

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.