Sunday, June 8, 2014

After the Movie: The Fault in our Stars

Before seeing The Fault in our Stars on Friday, I blogged on my impressions of the book with the possible intention of writing my post-viewing impressions. Well, here it is!

I started that post spoiler-free and then when the spoilers came out, I gave a warning first and then went a lot more in-depth. In this post I'll keep things spoiler free except for one paragraph (I'll warn you first), so you are safe to read this whether or not you've read the book or seen the movie. I'm still assuming you know the premise of the book, right? If not, then yeah, there will be some small spoilers ahead.

I love a good book adaption to a movie. I understand that no book can be translated to the big screen perfectly. I am rather annoyed when a book and the movie are hardly anything alike, or they implement drastic changes to the point where the two are not even related anymore. So, while I recognize SOME changes are needed, I think some go a little too far.

Unlike most adaptions, I don't think this one strayed from the story line too far. The only change that really stood out was when I'd think, "Okay, here is one of my more favorite lines. Here it comes, here it comes," and then it doesn't come. It's replaced by something else. It wasn't so much that they cut a line in the interest of time, because the line was often replaced instead of removed entirely. Then it hit me, "Wait a minute, they've made the characters sound less sophisticated!"

I guess it makes sense. A criticism I've regularly seen of the book is that the main characters talk way too grown up. I didn't mind, because kids who go through as much as these two do often mature sooner. And, to be honest, if this is the biggest thing to crawl under my skin, I'm still happy with the outcome. After all, they didn't turn the kids into morons, they just made them sound more like teenagers.

Okay, skip this paragraph if you don't know much about the book. Slight spoiler alert ahead... If they would have changed one thing, I wish it was the sex scene. It didn't show anything that would be considered nudity, but I thought it could have been scaled back more than they had. I was growing uncomfortable with how far they let it progress.

Overall, I loved the movie; I thought it was one of the better book adaptions. I loved seeing it on the big screen, and I thought the chemistry between Shailene Woodley (Hazel Grace) and Ansel Elgort (Augustus) was real. On screen, the two seem to share a real connection. I can't imagine any other teenage couple doing anywhere near as well as these two did.

As for the themes, one continued to stand out. Some day, we are all going to die. Every single one of us, and when we do, we are going to leave somebody behind who cares about us. Conversely, some day somebody will die and leave us in tears and sorrow. The question is, should we love somebody if this is the fate that happens between you two? When you get married, more than likely one will leave before the other.

Recently, I lost both of my great-grandparents within a couple of months of each other. My grandmother went first, and the hardest thing I've ever seen in my life is watching the coffin close on her as my grandfather--her husband of 70 years--watched over. He cried. I cried. Everybody who witness this cried. There wasn't a dry eye in the room.

Despite the pain, I don't believe for a second that he would have changed their relationship at all. I don't think he ever thought, "This hurts too much, I wish we had never met." Of course not. He loved her.

Lord Tennyson wrote, "Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." Yes, we can all spare others of the pain of our death. We can be spared of these feelings ourselves by not getting attached to people, so we do not feel the pain and sorrow of their departures.

Don't let the fact that all relationships end on this earth stop you from forming a loving relationship. The pain that accompanies death is because of the love you've been able to experience with that person. Everything has its opposites, and the opposite of sorrow and fear is love. You can't have one without the other. While the loss of a loved one is one of the greatest sorrows you will ever feel, the love felt from that person is the greatest feeling you will ever experience.

Don't fear love. Appreciate your loved ones. The way to live life to the fullest is to love with all your heart, not through anything else. True joy is only experienced through true love. While a life may be pain-free by sparing itself from love, it will ultimately be a very dull life that is not worth living.