The much-anticipated film adaptation of John Green's The Fault In Our Stars opens today, starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as teen lovers dealing with cancer. Critics are in love, too—as of this writing it has an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes—with most praising its wit and heart. Here's what they're saying:
- "It's a good, smart, careful movie," that elicited a "symphony of sniffles" from the screening audience, but it's not quite as good as the book, observes Moira Macdonald at the Seattle Times. "You only get that gut-punch of emotion once. The book did me in; the movie just nicked me." And while fans may be pleased that the movie is "meticulously faithful," it "makes for a slightly sterile movie experience" that "does occasionally stumble into teen-movie gooeyness."
- "Make no mistake, Fault is a certifiable weepie, but it comes by most of its emotions honestly … without the heart-tugging calculation that brings so many tear-jerkers down," writes Betsy Sharkey at the LA Times. Woodley's performance anchors the film and "heals all of its wounds," allowing you to "mourn her fate, but save your pity for someone else."
- It's "the most beautifully made cynical thing I've ever seen," writes a seriously conflicted Mick LaSalle at the San Francisco Chronicle. "The story can be outguessed within five minutes," and some of the dialogue feels phony—but other lines and moments feel truly revelatory. "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."
- Of course, a handful of critics hate it. "This movie is so tone-deaf it would only make sense in Vincent van Gogh's missing ear," writes Joe Williams at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, objecting in part to a scene where "cancer is conflated with the Holocaust." And while most critics praised Elgort's performance, Williams thinks he's a "major disaster" and "the worst thing to happen to teen romances since herpes."