Saturday, October 1, 2022


June 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Fault in Our Stars, starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, is one of those films critics almost invariably refer to as “weepies.” Its protagonists are two teenagers who fall in love after meeting in a cancer-support group. The reviews are decidedly mixed. On the one hand there’s Joe Williams, who writes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the movie “is as noxious as chemotherapy.” On the other, there’s Richard Corliss in Time magazine who writes that the movie “will live in film lore.” But most critics find much to praise and much to condemn about it. Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle puts it all into a single paragraph: “It’s exploitative in the most obvious ways, and yet sincere. It’s a product of sophisticated market calculation, and yet artless in its immediacy. It’s nothing you’d ever want to put yourself through twice, and yet it’s effective in the moment. Shrewdly prefabricated and yet lovingly assembled, it is, in short, the most beautifully made cynical thing I’ve ever seen.” That really sums up the reaction of most critics, with the positives generally outweighing the negatives. As Chris Vognar puts it in the Dallas Morning News: “The movie is witty and alive and only very occasionally maudlin.” For A.O. Scott in the New York Times, the movie brings to mind the 1970 film Love Story. It, too, he writes, was “based on a best seller with terminal illness in its plot. … The film was potent and memorable without being all that good. And yet it is still possible, all these years later, to laugh at the stilted dialogue and awkwardly staged scenes and find yourself wet-eyed and raspy-voiced at the end.” And Kyle Smith in the New York Post admits that “tear-jerkers have a friend in me” but that “the way The Fault in Our Stars throws adorable dying teens all over the place strikes me as calculated.” That said, Smith goes on to say that the movie “partly redeems itself with a thoughtful second half. In the end, to my surprise, the rusty gears of the waterworks began to whir.”