The Fault in Our Stars

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(2014) ★★

Sky Movies Premiere: PREMIERE Friday 15 May, 3.30pm and 8pm

Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort are just two teenagers in love. With something deep and abiding in common. Terminal cancer. She drags an oxygen tank everywhere, he jokes about his prosthetic leg. “Have fun,” says mom Laura Dern when the depressed Shailene unwillingly attends a cancer support group. And that’s where she bumps into Ansel, literally. He’s a beaming optimist who thinks sticking an unlit cigarette in his mouth is a metaphor. No, the queasy scene in which they kiss in the loft of Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, that’s a metaphor. An unconscious one that, unforgivably, proceeds to pat itself on the back. They’ve gone to Holland to meet the author of an inspirational novel, An Imperial Affliction. They want answers to its abruptly inconclusive ending. Willem Dafoe plays the author as a boorish drunk – ‘incurably American’ he describes himself – but he delivers the most honest line in the film when he rudely tells the uncomprehending couple what happens to his characters after the story’s ending: “Nothing. It’s fiction.” As is this cheesey teen tearjerker, set up with a dubious voiceover from Divergent star Woodley. Movies and books sugarcoat things, she says. “This is the truth. Sorry.” Apology duly noted. But a constant flow of indie pops songs on the soundtrack and street musicians perfectly playing Vivaldi in an idyllic Amsterdam could be construed as sugarcoating. As for the egg-throwing scene, it leaves a taste as bad as that displayed by the decision to include an infinity bracelet with the film’s Blu-ray release in the States. That’s not sugarcoating. That’s cynicism. And it goes against the mildly mocking tone of a double-diagnosed Love Story that chokes up the longer it goes on. And it goes on long. If Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s cancer comedy was better than 50/50, this is Now is Good at best. With text messages, cutely animated as in a Wimpy Kid film. The fault is not in the actors, but in the script from the hip guys who wrote (500) Days of Summer (Channel 4, Friday at 12.25am). No wonder MTV was impressed. Shailene Woodley duly accepted best female performance, best kiss and best film prizes at their 2015 movie awards. The source book’s author John Green was in the audience crying. For those young enough and in the mood it’ll give good grief. Which is… okay. Try to imagine cute flowery patterns around that ‘okay’. It will mean so much more.

Certificate: 12
Duration: 133min

Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 16 May at 3:45 PM
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 16 May at 8:00 PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 17 May at 3:45 PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 17 May at 8:00 PM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 18 May at 3:45 PM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 18 May at 8:00 PM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 19 May at 3:45 PM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 19 May at 8:00 PM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 20 May at 3:45 PM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 20 May at 8:00 PM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 21 May at 3:45 PM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 21 May at 8:00 PM
Sky Movies Premiere Friday, 22 May at 7:35 AM
Sky Movies Premiere Friday, 22 May at 5:45 PM