John Green’s spectacular novel, The Fault in Our Stars, is a heartwarming book that makes any reader smile, cry, and laugh in the span of just a few pages. Its movie also reflects these emotions in every possible way. However, many changes were made as the book was adapted to Hollywood big screens.
The beginning of the film appears to be directly from the book, as the audience is introduced to Hazel Grace Lancaster and the story of how she was diagnosed with cancer. She has to go to a support group where she is acquainted with her newest friends, Augustus Waters, or Gus, and Isaac. Also victims of cancer, these two have been through just as much as Hazel.
In the novel, Gus’s past girlfriend, Caroline Mathers, died of brain cancer just a few years prior to Hazel and Gus meeting. This girl is continually on Hazel’s mind, but there is no mention of her nor the effect she had on Gus in the film. Isaac, a vital component of the novel, is slightly less significant in the film. A victim of eye cancer, Isaac endures many hardships. His role allows Hazel’s character to grow significantly, specifically in the novel when Hazel visits Isaac after his surgery and they talk about how much Gus loves Hazel. While this does not make an appearance in the film, it allows readers to understand the beauty of Hazel and Gus’s relationship. It also foreshadows the fragility of their love, as Gus hides his relapse of cancer.
Before the trip to Amsterdam, Hazel overhears Gus yelling and crying with his mother, hinting at the horrific return of Gus’s cancer. When Gus’s health begins to deteriorate, he writes a eulogy for Hazel. In the book, Hazel searches for months to find this letter and eventually finds it untouched in Peter Van Houten’s mail, but in the novel, her rapid search is not reiterated.
In the film, instead, Hazel finds it crumpled up in her car after Peter Van Houten bombards her after Gus’s funeral. This difference, although heartbreaking, reduces the crushing moments of Gus’s death.
Personally, I imagined the characters the exact way they were cast in the film. I believe Shailene Woodley as Hazel was perfect, as she devoted herself to that part and did a perfect job. Ansel Elgort as Augustus was superb. His sense of humor and charm allowed Gus to be played magnificently. Isaac, played by Natt Wolff, was the also the image I had imagined while reading.
While I certainly disagree with many of the changes made during the film adaptation of the novel, there are certain aspects I agree with. Caroline Mathers, although significant in Hazel’s thoughts, wasn’t a prominent character, and I think adding her into the film would have subtracted from the love between Hazel and Augustus. However, I believe that the conversation between Hazel and Isaac was extremely important and was a crucial plot point that would have lead directly to Gus’s argument with his parents. Some components of the book are better to be left out, but I feel that many aspects would have added massively to the love and the heartbreak of the tragic storyline.
Photo Credits: Impression Blend