In the film “The Fault in Our Stars”, directed by Josh Boone we are introduced to two cancer patients who fall in love after meeting in their cancer support group. As the reader we are brought through the challenges and fear of both cancer and love. Ultimately from this novel I learnt to enjoy life and make the most out of every day thanks to both Hazel and Gus.
Hazel has a transcendent journey throughout the film compared to other teenagers her age. Initially I watch her grow weaker physically but see her understanding of death mature. At the beginning of the film we see Hazel using the stairs to her support group however obsessing over the impact of her death on others around her. Hazel overhears her mother say, “If Hazel dies I wont be a mother anymore”. I can take on this emotion on behalf of both Hazels mother and Hazel. As the reader I can relate to this feeling through my prior experiences. We see Hazel be motivated to finish the book “Imperial Affliction”, to see how Annas mother copes, to reassure herself that her parents will be ok when she dies. I can acknowledge Hazel is a remarkably conscientious 16 year old, more worried about the people around her than the tragedy of accepting her own death. She thinks deeply and passionately, we see this when she says, “Cancer kids are essentially side effects of the relentless mutation that makes the diversity of life on earth possible”. She doesn’t think of herself individually, instead I can assume she prefers to see herself as part of a big scheme. I can relate this quote back to the title, “The Fault in Our Stars”, understanding the author has sculpted Hazel to expect there is wisdom out in the universe, that the universe has a system, where there has been a fault. A fault that has made people die so young. This comes of interest to me, it challenge me to see this alternative aspect of the text.
Gus finds interest in Hazel when she says, “Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten […] and this will have been for naught […] And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”, at their support group. I thought maybe Gus becomes so interested in Hazel as he disagrees with Hazels idea, and ultimately how she doesn’t want to make a real move at the risk of hurting others. Gus wants to leave a mark on everything and everyone he touches, the attraction towards Hazel may have been based on challenging her viewpoint. Despite Hazels avoidance of getting close to anyone, Gus persists to the point I can see Hazel have a change of perspective. One in which she realises she isn’t the source of sadness in everyone life, but a joy to be embraced especially by herself. I experience Hazels major perspective change which makes me realise the impact others can have on you, based on their own experiences which essentially help us to grow as a person. Gus takes Hazel to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, where she realises, “…and then thinking that Anne Frank, after all, kissed someone in the Anne Frank House, and that she would probably like nothing more than for her home to have become a place where the young and irreparably broken sink into live”. From this quote I instantly realised that Anne and Hazel both have the uncertainty of life in common. For me this was the point where Hazel’s epiphany of life being temporary and the importance of embracing it came to her. I find this certain moment one of the best scenarios in the film, as I believe it was a fascinating parallel of these two girls lives. I think Hazel wasn’t afraid of commitment as such, but committing to something that will end in pain. However falling in love with Augustus made her realise, “and only now that I loved a grenade did I understand the foolishness of trying to save others from my own impending fragmentation: I couldn’t unlove Augustus Waters. And I didn’t want to”. To me this quote is beautiful, it signifies her love for Gus, and she could no longer fight, her mind simply gave in to her heart.
“But Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”. When Gus passes away, Hazel is left with an infinity within however many days she has left to live, thanks to what he taught her. I can see her become weaker, taking the elevator up to her support group, however she now lives, lives as if there is no tomorrow, loving. Loving Gus, allowing him into her life at the risk of hurting him, as well as herself was the best decision I think Hazel could ever make in the last stage of her short but worthy life. Gus knew he was going to die, I realise the significance of the last scene where Hazel reads Gus’s eulogy to her is based on the idea of challenging fear and overcoming it. He says in his last lines, “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices, I hope she likes hers, ok Hazel Grace”. I identify that Gus overcame is fear of dying, loving Hazel even though he had no chance of a life with her. I acknowledge his message to Hazel is he has no regrets, he faced his fears and loved, loved so deeply that death did not scare him. He says to Hazel, “I like my choices, I hope she likes hers, ok Hazel Grace”, where he is suggesting he hopes Hazel has no regrets on how she spent her last days in love.
Adversity is a major theme throughout the film. The challenges that Gus and Hazel face as their bodies slowly shut down from their terminal illnesses makes them stronger mentally. Gus portrays this idea first when he teaches Hazel to embrace her life for what it is, opening up to love. Once Hazel battles her challenges whether this was her alarming hospital trips, overcoming not being a normal teenager or learning to trust, her mentality had come a long way since the beginning of the film. I see adversity in all kinds of way throughout our society. I see people who are bullied, face illness, great loss and become heartbroken. Examples of adversity which allow people to come out stronger than ever before. Albert Einstein couldn’t get jobs in physics for two years after he graduated and faced major learning difficulties. Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times until he invented the lightbulb, and Bethany Hamilton had her arm bitten off by a shark. These are all examples of people I find influential, who turned adversity in to an opportunity.
I would recommend a year 12 or 13 student to watch this film. I believe it teaches us many important lessons but two aspects especially stuck out for me which year 12/13 students should acknowledge. Learning to embrace life, allowing people in and choosing who hurts you and how are so important for a senior student who wants to move forward. Realising no one knows what is around the corner or when your time will be, to appreciate the people in your life that love you making the most of everyday you have. Facing adversity and your outcome is essential for a senior student whether it is social or educational even mental adversity there is a light at the end of the tunnel, you choose how you get there. As Gus said, “Without pain, how could we know joy?”.