Fault in Our Stars first look reviews: a smart, soulful, swollen tearjerker

American critics are positive about the big screen adaptation of John Green's novel starring "note-perfect" Shailene Woodley


The big screen adaptation of John Green’s young adult tear-jerker hits UK cinemas later this month. And there’s a whole lot of hype surrounding the international best-seller. 


The tale, which follows the fledgling love story of cancer patients Hazel Grace and Augustus Walters, already has an army of fans, who all know that the film, directed by Josh Boone and starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, has a lot to live up to. 

First reviews of the movie have just started filtering through in the US. So, what’s the verdict? Is it as good as the book? 

Variety say the film “walks a knife’s edge between heart-on-sleeve sensitivity and crass exploitation for its entire running time, and the fact that it largely stays on the right side of that divide has to mark it as a success,” adding that the movie is “several degrees smarter than most films aimed at teenagers, this Fox melodrama ought to strike a resonant chord with young audiences.”

They also praise the film’s star, saying TFIOS is “soulfully acted, especially by a never-better Shailene Woodley” who “has much more to offer the cinema than an ability to run through obstacle courses while mouthing mealy mythology.”

The Wrap‘s reviewer Diane Garrett warns readers to “get our your hankies” for the “unabashed tearjerker” which “[wears] its sorrow on its sleeve”. 

“The movie is glossy Hollywood sad — cathartic without being too much of a bummer,” continues Garrett, saying that Woodley is a “grounding influence” on the film, and adding: “The Fault in Our Stars may not show the true messiness of cancer, but it does grapple with death and the ability to survive great loss.”

The Hollywood Reporter also note the main star’s performance, saying: “The script makes an excellent fit for Woodley.” Before going on to say the film “preserved the distinctly literate tone of the book” and “resolutely refuses to become a cliched cancer drama, creating instead two vibrant, believable young characters filled with humor and intelligence.” 

Screen Daily says: “The Fault In Our Stars is engagingly plotted and anchored by rich characterisations — a swollen tearjerker that confirms the star presence of Shailene Woodley”, who they go on to call “is open and ever-present — note-perfect in capturing the emotional swirl of living and losing.” 


The Fault in Our Stars is in UK cinemas 19 June 2014