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I Loved The Fault in Our Stars, but I’m Afraid to See the Movie

Fault_in_our_starsI finished reading John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars this weekend, and now I’m afraid to see the movie.

It’s not the movie’s fault or the book’s for that matter. It’s just me and my emotional investment in a story that I loved reading and now see in a particular way, and would like to have frozen there in that manner for as long as we all shall live.

Luckily for the filmmakers and for everyone who wants to see The Fault in Our Stars, the film version will be released in June no matter how I feel about it. The trailer debuted last week, and seeing how soon the movie would be hitting theaters was my final motivation to read this book that I’ve had on my list for months. I have been sadly behind in reading, which is a nice way of saying I just haven’t been doing it. I’ve been spending way too much time online and not reading anything but websites. This is very easy when one works on the Internet, yes, but this non-reading situation had gotten dire and would not do. So I decided that with a lot of snow headed right in the direction of my house, I was going to prepare by buying a brand new book that I really wanted to read.

I decided that it would be The Fault in Our Stars.

This wasn’t the most original choice, no. This book is incredibly popular and is still at #1 on the Young Adult Fiction New York Times Bestseller List, where it debuted in the top spot 63 weeks ago. (John Green has three other books in the top 10 on this list right now. Three. John Green is doing very well.) I try not to be led by trends, and I like to seek out underrated, little-known gems in art. However, I am also not made of stone, and I’m not stupid. Every person I know who read the book has loved it, and I know some smart people. Sometimes things are just popular because they are good. It’s that simple.

So I went to the real, live bookstore, and I picked up The Fault in Our Stars. Then I went home, and I read it in a day, and I fell in love with it, like everyone said I would.

I won’t spoil this book for anyone who hasn’t read it who wants to, but it is a heavy, emotional, beautifully written story. It makes me want to use words like “magnificent,” “gorgeous,” “heart-wrenching,” and “brilliant” to describe it, which are words I don’t use all of the time, for sure. I want to hug Augustus and Hazel Grace and Isaac and their parents, and have coffee with them, and find out how everyone is doing now, after, in a way that Hazel in particular would understand. Green is such a talented writer. He has a gift of being able to weave complex conversations between highly intelligent, wryly funny, mostly young characters into a readable story about love and loss that never drags or feels unbearably heavy, even at its heaviest.

What I’m saying is that you should consider reading it, if you haven’t. I think most people who enjoy good storytelling will enjoy it.

And now there will be a movie.

I’m trying to think of film versions of books that I’ve loved, and I’m having trouble thinking of them off of the top of my head. Smoke Signals, a film based on Sherman Alexie’s novel Tonto and the Lone Ranger Fist Fight in Heaven, is one. It’s such a great movie. I like the old and new film adaptations of Little Women, although my feelings for the book remain far more devoted. I saw and enjoyed the Harry Potter movies. I’ll watch just about any version of Pride and Prejudice on film or TV because I’m easily swayed by period costumes, and I’m sure I could think of more. But I had such an emotional reaction to The Fault in Our Stars that I feel — and this may sound crazy, but oh well — protective of it. What will happen to these characters in 3-D? Who will speak their words out loud? What changes will take place that could ruin this story (this beautiful, beautiful story)?

I decided to watch the trailer and find out:

It’s odd to see a story I so recently experienced in a novel come to life in a three-minute montage of scenes on a screen, yes, and it’s difficult to tell how things are going to go from a trailer. From early glimpses, though, The Fault in Our Stars movie looks like it could be okay. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort are really quite adorable as Hazel and Augustus, and while I wouldn’t have pictured Hazel’s mom as Laura Dern at all, I’m interested to see what she does with that important role. Willem Dafoe appears in the key role of Peter Van Houten, and that’s another casting choice I would have predicted.

It’s probably a good thing I’m not in charge of such things, right?

John Green did not write the screenplay, but he was involved with the film, and he likes it.

“So last week, Sarah and I saw an early cut of The Fault in Our Stars movie in Los Angeles. We loved it. Really. It’s funny and sad and deeply moving and I walked out of the screening room a crying, joyful mess. Ansel and Shailene make for a wonderful Gus and Hazel, and yeah just wow.”

So maybe, just maybe, the movie version will be okay. I think that film versions work the best when the story is adapted for the screen in small ways that make more sense visually, but in ways that don’t disrupt the story, like in Harry Potter. This is my hope for this beautiful story, and if it’s good enough for the man who wrote the book, if he trusts the filmmakers with Hazel and Gus and their gorgeous story, I’ll take his word for it. Besides, he linked to the ultimate set of The Fault in Our Stars movie GIFs, so things are already looking up.

The Fault in Our Stars will be released in the United States on June 6, 2014. Keep up with John Green’s Tumblr for movie news, pictures, and extra features.

Image credit: Wikipedia

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