The focus of the story is Hazel (Shailene Woodley), a teenager who walks on the thin edge between life and death (cancer has affected her lungs). When, at the urging of his parents, he reluctantly agrees to appear in the Youth Support Group for Cancer, he unexpectedly finds the love of his life. Gas (Ansel Elgort) is a cheerful eighteen-year-old, a former basketball player, when bone cancer separated him from the floor. The two young people discover that they have a lot of similarities (besides the sinister nature of the disease), the same sense of humor, the courage to face the cosmic destiny, no matter how cruel and hopeless it may seem. Through intense socializing, they experience wonderful moments together, establish a deep emotional connection, and share a passion for life.
Hollywood trusts young people, teenagers, giving them the magical power to touch our hearts, to spoil our souls. A refreshing approach to reviving a brutally realistic life story yielded more than an enviable result. So what is the secret of such an approach? The secret is in the subtle director’s ability to emotionally color every segment of the film, keeping two young people in practically every frame, and the two of them are spontaneous, natural, sometimes cheerful and smiling, and sometimes sad and depressed. They do not seek pity, they just want to survive the day, and good vibes and positive energy, in a word of support, are spiritual food for them.
Ready to accept destiny, they show enviable mental maturity and elegant calmness, which has its exponents in healthy humor and detailed, very witty dialogues. The skillfully established balance between the dark and the other, brighter side of life is visible, which makes the dramaturgical concept acceptable to different audience profiles.
In addition to the great script, I have to pay tribute to the outstanding acting. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, her film partner (just like in real life) simply brilliantly portrayed their characters because they breathed so much life into them, lit up a strong emotional background, simply made us sympathize with them. Willem Dafoe (Willem Dafoe) only followed up with an effective episodic role, proving once again that he doesn’t care how much he will be in the frame (to use that worn-out phrase – there are no small or big roles). It is interesting to point out that the author of the novel, John Green, has a cameo appearance in a scene at the airport, with a blonde girl, with which the director probably wanted to express his gratitude for an excellent literary proposal.
Photography is concise and bland pathos is not emphasized here, as in most films with similar themes. The music is stylistically arranged within the framework of an emotionally filled life story, which together creates a suitable environment in which we experience a kind of catharsis, 100% accepting the heroes of this sad story torn from the everyday life of ordinary, small people.
There is no doubt that this is a very high-quality film that must be watched not only by fans of drama, but also by all those who consider themselves film lovers. Just so I don’t forget, prepare handkerchiefs in advance, because you will undoubtedly need them.