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The Fault in Our Stars (film)

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The Fault in Our Stars
Movie poster featuring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort in character
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Josh Boone
Produced by
  • Wyck Godfrey
  • Marty Bowen
Screenplay by
Based on The Fault in Our Stars 
by John Green
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Ben Richardson
Edited by Robb Sullivan
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • May 16, 2014 (2014-05-16) (SIFF)
  • June 6, 2014 (2014-06-06) (United States)
Running time
126 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12 million[2]
Box office $307.2 million[3]

The Fault in Our Stars is a 2014 American romantic drama directed by Josh Boone, based on the novel of the same name by John Green. The film stars Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, and Nat Wolff, with Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, and Willem Dafoe playing supporting roles. Woodley plays Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen-year-old cancer patient who is forced by her parents to attend a support group, where she subsequently meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters, played by Elgort.

Development of The Fault in Our Stars began in January 2012 when Fox 2000, a division of 20th Century Fox, optioned the rights to adapt the novel into a feature film. Principal photography began on August 26, 2013, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, with a few additional days in Amsterdam, Netherlands, before concluding on October 16, 2013. Pittsburgh doubled for all the scenes set in Indianapolis, Indiana, as well as for some interior scenes set in Amsterdam.

The Fault in Our Stars was released on June 6, 2014, in the United States to positive critical reception, with praise going to Woodley's performance as well as the script. The film was also a blockbuster, becoming number one at the box office during its opening weekend and grossed over US$307 million worldwide against its budget of $12 million. It was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on September 16, 2014.

Plot[edit]

Hazel Grace Lancaster, an intelligent and sarcastic Indianapolis teenager, has terminal thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. Believing she is depressed, Hazel's mother urges her to attend a cancer patients' support group to make friends. During a support meeting, Hazel meets Augustus Waters, a teenager who has lost a leg from bone cancer. Augustus invites Hazel to his house, where they bond. They agree to read each other's favorite novels; Hazel recommends An Imperial Affliction to Augustus, a novel about a cancer-stricken girl named Anna that parallels Hazel's experience. Augustus gives Hazel The Price of Dawn. After Augustus finishes the book, he expresses frustration with the novel's abrupt ending. Hazel explains that the novel's mysterious author, Peter van Houten, retreated to Amsterdam following the novel's publication, and has not been heard from since.

Weeks later, Augustus tells Hazel he has traced Van Houten's assistant, Lidewij, and has corresponded with Van Houten by email. Hazel writes to him to ask about the novel's ambiguous ending; Van Houten replies that he is only willing to answer in person. Hazel asks her mother if she can travel to Amsterdam, but she rejects it because of financial and medical constraints. Augustus surprises Hazel with tickets to Amsterdam donated by a charitable foundation.

Days before the trip, Hazel suffers from pleural effusion and is sent to an intensive care unit (ICU). Her doctors are eventually persuaded to allow the trip. Hazel and Augustus arrive in Amsterdam and are presented with reservations for an expensive restaurant, paid for by Van Houten. During the meal, Augustus confesses his love for Hazel. They meet Van Houten, but are shocked to find he is a mean-spirited alcoholic; Lidewij arranged the meeting and their dinner on his behalf. Van Houten, angered by his assistant's actions, taunts Hazel for seeking answers to a piece of fiction and belittles her medical condition.

As the two leave the author's residence dejected, Lidewij invites them to go sightseeing to make up for their experience. The three visit the Anne Frank House, where Hazel struggles to climb the house's many stairs. At the end of the tour, Augustus and Hazel kiss to the applause of fellow tourists. The next day, Augustus tells Hazel that his cancer has relapsed and spread throughout his body and is terminal. After their return to Indianapolis, Augustus' health worsens. Hazel receives a desperate call from Augustus late at night after he tries to get a new pack of cigarettes at the gas station. He is taken to the ICU for a few days and realizes he is close to death. Augustus invites his blind best friend Isaac and Hazel to his pre-funeral, where they deliver eulogies they prepared. Hazel quotes Van Houten's text, and tells him she would not trade their short time together for anything.

Augustus dies eight days later. At his funeral, Hazel is astonished to find Van Houten in attendance. He tells her he maintained correspondence with Augustus after Amsterdam and that Augustus had demanded he attend his funeral to make up for the spoiled trip. He tells Hazel that his novel is based on the experiences of his daughter Anna, who died from cancer at a young age. Van Houten tries to tell Hazel about the fate of Anna's mother; he gives Hazel a piece of paper. Hazel, still upset with his behavior in Amsterdam, crumples up the paper and asks him to leave. Later, talking with Isaac, Hazel learns that Augustus had asked Van Houten to help him write a eulogy for her. She retrieves the crumpled paper and reads Augustus' words, which state his acceptance of death and his love for Hazel. Hazel lies on her back on her lawn looking up at the stars, smiling as she remembers Augustus.

An Imperial Affliction[edit]

The book An Imperial Affliction, which features within both the original novel and the film, is fictitious, as is its author Peter van Houten; both are used to enhance the themes and story.[4]

Differences between the novel and film[edit]

According to Lindsey Weber of Vulture.com, the differences between the book and the film include Hazel mentioning the band the Hectic Glow many times in the book, but not in the film. In the book, Gus has an ex-girlfriend, Caroline, who died from cancer. This does not occur in the film. Hazel's former best friend Kaitlyn does not appear in the film. In the book, Hazel and Gus meet when Hazel turns around to find Gus staring at her, while in the film, they meet on the way to their support groups. Gus dies more quickly in the film than in the book. In the book, Hazel searches for the letter, while in the film, van Houten gives it to her. In the book, Hazel shows forgiveness towards van Houten after Gus's funeral, while in the film she demands that he leave. In the book, Hazel is a vegetarian but this is not referenced in the film. A scene in the film, in which Gus comes in a limousine to pick up Hazel and her mother when they are leaving for Amsterdam does not appear in the book. However, in the book, Gus is late when Hazel and her mother arrive at his house in a taxi because he appears to be fighting with his parents over his cancer relapse and his trip.[5]

Cast[edit]

Shailene Woodley
Ansel Elgort
Nat Wolff
Top to bottom: Shailene Woodley stars as Hazel Grace Lancaster, Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters, and Nat Wolff as Isaac in the film.

Production[edit]

Pre-production[edit]

On January 31, 2012, it was announced that Fox 2000, a division of 20th Century Fox, had optioned the rights to adapt the John Green novel The Fault in Our Stars into a feature film.[12] Wyck Godfrey with Marty Bowen were due to produce the film with their production company, Temple Hill Entertainment.[13] Stephen Chbosky, who directed The Perks of Being a Wallflower (also filmed in Pittsburgh), was in talks for directing the film.[14] Yet he turned it down due to it being so resemblant of his latest project Perks. On February 19, 2013, Josh Boone was hired as director;[15] Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber were hired to adapt the novel into a screenplay—their second adaptation for Fox, after Rosaline.[15][16]

Casting[edit]

On March 19, 2013, Entertainment Weekly announced that Shailene Woodley (who had recently cast and filming Divergent) would play Hazel Grace Lancaster.[17] Director Josh Boone said, "We read close to 150 actresses for the role, and I saw about 50 of those. Within ten or fifteen seconds of Shailene's audition, I knew she was Hazel. She held up her script pages and just her eyes were peeking over them."[18] On May 10, 2013, Ansel Elgort was cast as Hazel's love interest, Augustus Waters.[7] On July 23, Laura Dern joined the cast as Hazel's mother Frannie Lancaster, and Nat Wolff as Issac, Augustus' best friend.[8] Wolff told HuffPost Live, "It's exciting, I feel really lucky. The fact that I get to work with these super talented people—I mean, that's part of the reason why, I'm good in the movie, that's the reason."[19] On August 14, Sam Trammell was cast as Hazel's father Michael Lancaster,[9] and on August 28, author John Green announced that Mike Birbiglia would be playing Patrick.[11] On September 6, he tweeted that Willem Dafoe would play Peter van Houten.[10]

Prior to these announcements, author John Green had tweeted that he would be happy if Mae Whitman played Hazel,[20] and in February 2013, there had been speculation that Shailene Woodley and Hailee Steinfeld were among those being considered for the lead role.[15]

John Green filmed a cameo appearance; his scene was cut from the film but is included in the deleted scenes section of the film's DVD and Blu-ray releases. In the cut scene, Green plays the father of a young girl who asks about Hazel's cannula while at the airport.[21] Green said, "They cut [his scene] because it was totally unnecessary to the movie-slash-I was terrible".[22]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began on August 26, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[23] Film locations included Oakmont,[24] Pittsburgh Children's Hospital, and the historic "Mansions on Fifth" hotel.[25] The church scenes were filmed at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in the Pittsburgh suburb Mt. Lebanon.[26] Filming in Pennsylvania continued until October 10,[27] then the production moved to Amsterdam, where filming began on October 14.[28] Filming was officially completed on October 16, 2013.[29]

In Amsterdam, three days of filming took place. Woodley and Elgort were filmed on a canal-side public bench. On July 2, 2014, The Guardian reported that the bench had gone missing, and city officials said they did not know where it was. Amsterdam city spokesman, Stephan van der Hoek said, "It's a bit embarrassing, because we do keep good track of them, but it's gone all right". He promised to install a new bench within weeks.[30] Just a week later, Entertainment Weekly said the Amsterdam film office had tweeted a photograph taken during the installation of the stolen bench; Amsterdam film commissioner Simon Brester said it was the same bench, not a replacement.[31]

Filming in Pittsburgh included the interior scenes at the Anne Frank House, which was recreated on a soundstage at Pittsburgh Studios located in the quaint community of Churchill Borough, Pennsylvania in the East suburbs of Pittsburgh. .[32] Production designer Molly Hughes and art director Greg Weimerskirch built three different studio sets in Pittsburgh, one for each floor.[33] Also, the Funky Bones art monument in Indianapolis was recreated in Pittsburgh with the help of the sculpture's creator, Dutch artist Joep Van Lieshout.[34]

Author John Green, though an Indianapolis native, was pleased with the selection of Pittsburgh for filming. He commented that "Pittsburgh has an amazing community of really talented film professionals that’s been built up over the last 20 years. I’ve been blown away by their professionalism, their confidence, their dedication. There aren’t a lot of cities like that. You kind of have to find the city that can be Indianapolis. And Pittsburgh, even though it has a lot of hills, it can be Indianapolis. We just have to find a couple of flat streets." [35]

Music[edit]

Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott of Bright Eyes scored the film.[36] The full album track list was released on April 13, 2014, featuring songs from artists including M83, Grouplove, Kodaline, Jake Bugg, Tom Odell, Ed Sheeran and Charli XCX, who performed "Boom Clap", one of the main songs from the movie, which became an international success, due in part to its exposure during the film.[37] The soundtrack was released by Atlantic Records on May 19 in the U.S, and on June 23 in the UK.[38]

Release[edit]

The Fault in Our Stars premiered to 300 guests at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City on June 2, 2014. At the premiere, Green said, "I didn't want to sell it, because Hollywood sucks at making unsentimental movies about illness".[39] The film was released on June 6, 2014.[40] After the New York premiere, Evangeline Earl, a student, announced that Green's book, from which the film was adapted, had been inspired by her sister Esther Earl, who had also been an author. Esther suffered from thyroid cancer and died in 2010. Evangeline said Esther had met Green at LeakyCon, a Harry Potter convention held in Boston in 2009. Green said, "I could never have written The Fault in Our Stars without knowing Esther. Every word on that book depends on her."[41] Author John Green said he used the word "okay" in the book and the film because Hazel and Augustus used it to express their love for each other;[42] it becomes a special word between them. The original novel was inspired by the late author Esther Earl, who used the word "okay" with her sister Abigail.[43]

Marketing[edit]

The first trailer was released on January 29, 2014. The trailer had over three million views in fewer than 24 hours,[44] and more than 15 million views in its first seven days. A video clip was shown before the show at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards on April 13, 2014.[45] An extended trailer was released on April 28, 2014, and Fox released more clips via YouTube as part of the film's pre-release promotion.[46] On April 2, 2014, the studio announced the launch of a promotional tour program named "Demand Our Stars", in which Green, Woodley, Elgort, and Wolff would visit the states that got most votes from fans re-blogging their states' map outlines.[47] Four states won; the tour program started in Miami, Florida, on May 6, Cleveland, Ohio, on May 7, Nashville, Tennessee, on May 8, and ended in Dallas, Texas, on May 9.[48][49]

Home media[edit]

The Fault in Our Stars was released on DVD and Blu-ray on September 16, 2014.[50] The "Little Infinities" Blu-ray edition features the theatrical 126-minute and extended 133-minute versions of the film, a number of deleted scenes including the John Green cameo, and featurettes.[51]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

"Big movies have their embedded lessons in heroism, but it's nice to have tales of human-scale fortitude."

—Lisa Kennedy, writing for Denver Post[52]

The Fault in Our Stars received positive reviews from critics, with Woodley's performance and Neustadter and Weber's screenplay receiving praise, while Elgort's performance was met with mixed to negative reception. It received a "Certified Fresh" rating from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, which reported an 81% approval rating from critics with an average score of 6.9/10, based on 196 reviews. The site's consensus says, "Wise, funny, and heartbreaking without resorting to exploitation, The Fault in Our Stars does right by its bestselling source material".[53] Metacritic gave the film a 69 out of 100, based on reviews from 45 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[54] CinemaScore gave the film an "A" on an A+ to F scale.[55]

Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film a score of 3 out of 4; he said, "Woodley ... balances grace with gravity, wit with heart".[56] A. O. Scott writing for The New York Times said, "The film sets out to make you weep—not just sniffle or choke up a little, but sob until your nose runs and your face turns blotchy. It succeeds."[57] The Boston Globe's Ty Burr gave the film a rating of 2.5 out 4 and said, "If Elgort's Gus is glibly charming and ultimately affecting, "The Fault in Our Stars" belongs to Woodley, a performer who always seems to be backing warily into her own movies."[58]

Quickflix's Simon Miraudo rated the film 3/5, and said, "The Fault in Our Stars undeniably sets us up to knock us down".[59] Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 4 stars. He said her performance as Hazel was "transcendent, pure and authentic", stating that, "she's that memorable".[60] Scott Mendelson of Forbes magazine said the film is "exceptionally high-quality mainstream entertainment" and called it "a genuine work of art".[61] Anna Smith of Empire said it was a, "touching romance and Shailene Woodley's best performance yet".[62] Emma Dibdin of Digital Spy wrote "The Fault in Our Stars is a sharp and emotionally-sophisticated weepie that imbues its teenage characters with rare intelligence, and tackles its bleak subject matter with acerbic wit and tenderness".[63] Andy Lea of the Daily Star said, "as teen romances go, this is powerful stuff".[64] Wilson Morales at BlackFilm.com praised Woodley and Elgort's performances, saying they "are so captivating and genuine in their performances, they manage to make this intensely poignant film very moving, romantic and highly entertaining".[65]

"It's a fresh, lively love story, brimming with humor and heartbreak, and lifted to the heights by Shailene Woodley, a sublime actress with a résumé that pretty much proves she's incapable of making a false move on camera."

—Peter Travers of Rolling Stone[66]

Time magazine's Richard Corliss wrote, "Hazel and Augustus will live in film lore because of the young actors who play them".[67] Chris Vongar of Dallas Morning News gave the film a B+ as "the movie is witty and alive and only very occasionally maudlin".[68] USA Today's Claudia Puig called the film "well-written, well-acted, acerbic, funny and wisely observed", giving it 3.5 out of 4.[69] Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly called the film a "funny, sweet, three-hankie tearjerker" and gave the B grade.[70] Geoff Pevere of The Globe and Mail said, "While it may not conform to one's real-life expectations it certainly hews tightly to teen-flick conventions."[71] Connie Ogle of The Miami Herald called it a, "sweet, romantic film full of sudden warmth and humor".[72] A.A. Dowd of The A.V. Club gave the film a "B" saying that it is, "blessed with sparks of wit and buoyed by the talents of a charismatic cast".[73]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film a negative review, likening it to "being mugged by a professional whose skills in mixed martial arts you can't help but notice and appreciate, even as you are savagely beaten, then dragged upright, bruised and bleeding, and forced to watch as your assailant gives fully 45% of your money to charity".[74] Christy Lemire writing for Roger Ebert's website gave it two stars out of four and criticized the film for being "emotionally inert, despite its many moments that are meant to put a lump in our throats". Lemire criticized Elgort's performance and praised Woodley's "abiding, disarming naturalism".[75] Robbie Collin writing for The Daily Telegraph said, "Gus is something of a manic pixie dreamboat: the lesser-spotted male version of the kooky, adoring girlfriend-type sometimes played by Kirsten Dunst, Natalie Portman, and Zooey Deschanel".[76] David Edelstein of NPR said, "I know people who cried at the trailer of the romantic teen cancer movie The Fault in Our Stars—at the movie they'll need a life preserver to keep from drowning in a flood of tears. Me, I didn't cry, though at times my tear ducts tingled; I was on the verge. The film is a little slick for my taste, too engineered. But it's gently directed by Josh Boone and beautifully acted. Whatever the faults, it's not in the stars."[77] Shalini Langer of The Indian Express gave the film two and a half stars and said, "The film is faithful to a fault from the dialogues to the clothes, the setting and the food, even while skipping over some of the unpleasant details".[78] Dana Stevens writing for Slate Magazine said, "What in the name of God is wrong with me that I didn't cry once—I, who just the day before wept through the entirety of my child's thoroughly upbeat school play".[79]

Two Christian reviewers[80] and some theologians[81] have mentioned the presence of Christian themes in the film. Writing for Catholic News Agency, Robert Barron said, "I don’t think it is the least bit accidental that Waters (Gus’s last name) and Grace (Hazel’s middle name) met in the sacred heart of Christ and thereby, despite their shared suffering, managed to give life to one another ... [and so] Hazel effectively repudiates her nihilism and materialism as she responds across the barrier of death to Gus’s 'okay' ". He also said, "[Is] this film a satisfying presentation of Christianity? Hardly. But for those who are struggling to find their way to meaning and faith, it's not an entirely bad place to start."[82]

The film's studio, 20th Century Fox, mounted a campaign to have Shailene Woodley to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, as well as the film's screenplay,[83] but neither were ultimately awarded.

Box office[edit]

The Fault in Our Stars earned US$124,872,350 in North America and $181,645,551 in other countries for a worldwide total of $306,517,901.[3]

North America

The film's income received a boost from "The Night Before Our Stars", a premium-priced event for which tickets sold for up to $25, which included a screening of the film and a simulcast question and answer session with cast and crew including Woodley, Elgort, Wolff, and Green.[84] The film earned $8.2 million from Thursday night showings and $26.1 million on its opening day.[85][86] During its opening weekend, the film accumulated $48,002,573 from 3,173 theaters at an average of $15,128 per theater, making it number one film in the North American.[87]

Other territories

Outside North America, The Fault in Our Stars earned $16.59 million from 2,892 screens in 17 markets in its opening weekend, placing at No. 4 behind Edge of Tomorrow ($81 million), Maleficent ($61.7 million) and X-Men: Days of Future Past ($41.1 million). Brazil, Mexico and Australia generated the highest income with $5.8 million, $3.8 million and $3.7 million respectively.[88] The following week the film earned $16.1 million from 40 markets remiaining at No. 4 again.[89]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Recipient Result
15th Golden Trailer Awards[90] Best Romance The Fault In Our Stars Won
Golden Space Needle Award Best Film The Fault in Our Stars Nominated
Teen Choice Awards 2014[91] Choice Movie: Drama The Fault in Our Stars Won
Choice Movie Actor: Drama Ansel Elgort Won
Choice Movie Actress: Drama Shailene Woodley Won
Choice Breakout Star Ansel Elgort Won
Choice Scene Stealer Nat Wolff Won
Choice Chemistry Ansel Elgort, Shailene Woodley, and Nat Wolff Won
Choice Liplock Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley Won
Young Hollywood Awards[92] Fan Favorite Actor – Male Ansel Elgort Won
Fan Favorite Actor – Female Shailene Woodley Nominated
Breakthrough Actor Ansel Elgort Nominated
Best On-Screen Couple Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley Won
Best Cast Chemistry – Film The Fault in Our Stars Won
Favorite Flick The Fault in Our Stars Won
Kid's Choice Awards Argentina Favorite Movie The Fault in Our Stars Won
18th Hollywood Film Awards Hollywood Breakout Performance – Actress Shailene Woodley Won
41st People's Choice Awards Favorite Movie Duo Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort Nominated
Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress Shailene Woodley Nominated
Favorite Dramatic Movie The Fault in Our Stars Won
MTV Movie Awards[93] Movie of the Year The Fault in Our Stars Won
Best Male Performance Ansel Elgort Nominated
Best Female Performance Shailene Woodley Won
Breakthrough Performance Ansel Elgort Nominated
Best On-Screen Duo Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort Nominated
Best Shirtless Performance Ansel Elgort Nominated
Best Kiss Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley Won

Hindi remake[edit]

On August 6, 2014, India's Fox Star Studios announced its intention to produce a remake of The Fault in Our Stars in Hindi.[94] The studio's CEO, Vijay Singh, said the English version of the film, which was released in India in July 2014, had earned over $1 million there.[95] On September 19, it was announced that Homi Adajania, the director of Finding Fanny (2014), and producer Dinesh Vijan would be working with Fox Star to develop the film, which will be co-produced by Vijan's company Maddock Films.[96] On September 25, Deepika Padukone and Varun Dhawan were confirmed to be playing the lead roles.[97]

References[edit]

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  32. ^ President of Churchill Borough
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