Woodley is Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16 year old cancer survivor struggling to live a normal life. She carries an oxygen tank otherwise her lungs fill up with water and begins to have trouble breathing. Wanting the simple things is a difficult thing for her, who wouldn't want a relationship, hanging with friends...etc. Sensing a "meet cute" situation about to happen. Luck would have it, running into Augustus Waters (Ansel Algort, Divergent) outside a cancer survivors meeting and during it, he can't get his eyes off Hazel even when the decorated athlete talks how he lost his leg and replaced with a steel pole. Attached with swagger and extraordinary self-confidence but Algort keeps him likable, I could tell with all the OMGs (last time I say an acronym) coming from the ladies at the screening I attended.
The strength of the film is the realism behind their relationship by exchanging smart, witty dialogue between each other, hang out together, and witness what they're texting thanks to the notebook-style visual bubbles as they type on their phones. Rare to actually watch an relationship develop and steady itself on the foundation it's built. The reason to them truly building something was Hazel describing the novel An Imperial Affliction at their meeting and Augustus was curious on the character, Anna, so he promised he would read it if she read The Price of Dawn.
Woodley is an magnetic force on the screen. Bringing the overly emotional but honest feeling to the already rich Hazel Grace Lancaster character. When she reacts, you would react the same way especially when she was with Augustus in Amsterdam. Laura Dern was the pitch perfect selection as Hazel's mom. Frannie. It's a complex character that has to deal with her daughter's condition daily and at the same time, stay calm. She's such a joy to watch and work with Woodley. It was endearing that Augustus had this one of a kind friend, Issac (Nat Wolff). A good hearted but naive young man going through a tough break-up but he gets his rightful, respectful revenge. Willem Dafoe appears as Van Houten, the author of An Imperial Affliction who plays it as a soul-breaking man who lashes out with a glass of whiskey in hand and a dirty bathrobe.
Director Josh Boone keeps the film grounded and never manipulates Green's words or the audience bringing character emotions to the forefront and making it heartfelt especially when towards the final 20 min where we watch complexity dominate as you try to keep the tears from falling. Reminiscent of films like Love Story and Terms of Endearment with humor and storyteliing makes this a must-see for the ladies. Thank goodness, I saw it with my girlfriend.
The Fault in Our Stars succeeds with its independent performances and mature words from John Green's novel never being mawkish or cheesy. Showing that teenagers can be as smart as most adults, in fact don't be surprised if you see Woodley nominated for Oscar gold. One of the best of 2014