Oh, sure it is a movie about cancer, about young people dying from cancer. It is a story about twenty somethings dealing with things we would wish on no one. It is gritty. It is real. It does not gloss over anything. And, yes you will need your Kleenxes - lots of them. (Guys be prepared you, too, will "have things in your eyes" that will require wiping.)
The Fault in Our Stars is also a funny, uplifting love story. Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Gus play their roles so well that you are along for the ride. Even though you are there for the ups and downs, the screen play is so well written you appreciate the story and the acting so much that you are not jumping ahead or even have time to wonder what is ahead. You live in the now with them.
I found much more to the story line than I thought would be there. It moved along at a steady pace introducing all the characters in due time. Although you have an idea how the story will unfold, there are many pleasant surprises that give this story a breadth and depth only a film of this caliber can carry off.
Laura Dern plays Frannie, Hazel's mother, Frannie, who is trying hard to make the best of her daughter's life without stepping on it and manages to do a good job and Dern does as excellent job portraying the upbeat very supportive mother. Willem Defoe plays Van Houten, the bitter author of Hazel's favorite book.
Woodley manages to make Hazel a bright young lady who has accepted her fate but who still has a twinkle in her eye. Elgort keeps the character of Gus always positive without being hokey. And when he needs to be serious, he easily slips into that role as if it were a comfortble sweater he had on a shelf. Every time I thought Elgort was not serious enough for the role, a close up showed (even with his dimpled grin) he was indeed taking life very seriously, painfully aware of the cards they had been dealt.
The Fault in Our Stars is just right - believable, truthful, romantic, sad, and funny. But it has been a long time since I cried this much through a movie.