I hate seeing movies after I’ve already read the book. Hate is a strong word but the feeling has developed over book-to-movie translation disappointments time and time again. I suppose it’s kinda cool that the movie-set of my mind could out-do Hollywood… so I don’t know why I continue to go see films after I’ve read the book. Maybe curiosity? Perhaps it’s because I love bragging, “oh the book was SO much better”, proving to whoever’s listening that I can stay away from the internet long enough to complete a novel.
I know it’s impossible to squeeze every word, scene, feeling, touch and look from the pages of a book into a 120-minute blockbuster – which is probably why past book-to-movies like Memoirs of a Geisha, The Davinci Code and even, to some degree, My Sister’s Keeper seemed to rush through the plot, from sign-post scenes to important sentences…. But missing so much of the whole picture.
Enter “The Fault in Our Stars”. I rocked up to the cinema with the same swagger that I usually would, here we go – another film that’s so not as awesome as my brain. Drawn to it almost like a car-crash, I had to see it for myself before I read anything, from anyone, anywhere. Scene one. Action. I was ready to hate.
In a moment of shock and confusion, I literally thought “how did they find this actress who is EXACTLY the character I personally made up in my mind?” The casting was absolutely brilliant. Actress, Shailene Woodley, was the most perfectly selected person in the universe to play the lead role of Hazel Grace Lancaster. It helped that I’d never seen her before. Like if they’d cast Mila Kunis or something I could never have accepted her over my mind-created character but Woodley WAS my mind-created character… well, I suppose the character creation credit really belongs to the writer John Green and film Casting department lead by Donna M. Belajac
I’m not going to go into detail for fear of spoiling, except to say that my initial moment of awe just lifted and lifted not only as characters were revealed scene-by-scene, but as the film seemed to squeeze every word, scene, feeling, touch and look from the pages this book to deliver an exceptional book-to-movie translation. I don’t mind standing corrected, especially when it’s shifting a previous expectation of hate into something truly touching and beautiful. Regardless of whether you’ve read the book or not, The Fault in Our Stars is a film that makes you truly grateful for your Self, not only your ‘more-amazing-than hollywood’ mind, but your healthy body which carries you, and, most importantly, the beauty that is the combination of love …. and breathing.