Of all the books made movies in recent history, not one has ever been so highly anticipated as "The Fault in Our Stars" — and not one has stood to fall so far if it doesn't live up to its pre-release hype.
But at last, with views for the trailer counting in the millions and sales of "Okay, Okay" t-shirts through the roof, we can finally see how the critics fell in love with "The Fault in Our Stars." Was it very slowly, and then all at once? Or, heaven forfend, not at all? Below, a roundup of what movie tastemakers have to say about it so far.
It Says Smart Things Above Love
"[The film] offers its core young audience the bracing, even exhilarating suggestion that love isn’t just about finding someone worth dying for, but someone who makes life worth living. For that alone, 'The Fault in Our Stars' achieves that rare feat of eliciting as many cheers as tears." — Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
"The quarrel between the novelist and his fans, the only real conflict in the film other than the one with disease, is essentially a battle between argument and feeling. It’s hardly a fair fight, and the way it is rigged — fresh-faced, innocent, possibly dying young people facing off against a cynical, broken-down, alcoholic old wreck — provides a clue to the emotional logic of 'The Fault in Our Stars.' It’s less a movie about cancer than a depiction — really a celebration — of adolescent narcissism." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
...Or Maybe More Than a Bit
"It really is almost great and almost awful interchangeably, sometimes simultaneously. Manipulative in the worst way, it's also manipulative in the best way, so that, in order to be unmoved by it, you would have to try actively to be a jerk." — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
The Name On Everybody's Lips Is Gonna Be… Shailene
"[It is] Shailene Woodley as Hazel who melts your heart with a dazzlingly fresh breath of air. She may not be conventionally beautiful by Hollywood’s definition, but she has an indirect sweetness, a paralyzing presence and a vast emotional range that defines star quality on the screen. As a girl who discovers, in death, the meaning of life, she is a rapture to behold. The camera loves her, and so will you." — Rex Reed, New York Observer
"After having the privilege of witnessing Shailene Woodley’s transcendent, pure and authentic performance in “The Fault in Our Stars,” I believe there are now only four slots available in the category of Best Performance by An Actress in a Lead role. She’s that memorable." — Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
And Ansel Ain't Bad, Either
"Elgort... has a natural screen appeal and suave chemistry with Woodley. He could almost make smitten girls in the audience think it would be worth getting cancer to meet such a paragon." — Richard Corliss, TIME
And Oh, OHMIGOD, the Love Story
"The movie is... funny and touching and brimming with youthful life, filled with a brightness and a piquancy that’s well channeled through Woodley and guided smartly by Boone…
The real story here is of course about Hazel and Augustus falling in love and grappling with how limited their time on this lonely Earth may be. And Woodley and Elgort fall in love beautifully, possessed of a lively, natural rapport that is rare among actors their age." — Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair