So, after all of the concern surrounding where the screen was and the twenty billion lifetimes long queue to surrender all electronic equipment there was a little speech by the organisers but probably the part you want to know is that there was also a film.
Honestly, I don’t know what I thought of it.
I mean, I knew as soon as it started that I was going to enjoy the film. It’s great. Top notch. I assured myself of this even before I was at the cinema based on my previous book reading experience. The Fault in Our Stars is as a sad and hilarious as the amazon blurb suggests. We meet the main character, Hazel in the winter of her seventeenth birthday. Being diagnosed as depressed by her parents (because she keeps reading the same book over and over again) what with her own cancer she reluctantly goes along to a support group only to meet a gorgeous plot twist called Augustus Waters.
The film was great by any standard too. I fell in love with the cute graphics, and the way Hazel Grace rolled her eyes. I fell in love with scenes that I expected, and the unexpected feelings they stirred up.
Obviously, I also cried.
I knew that I would cry before we even set foot in the cinema. And I knew that I would feel a little ashamed of crying because I always do. I knew that I would walk out of the cinema and wonder how the world could ever be the same again, while simultaneously knowing that it would, and that it should remain unchanged. The world never changes, it’s your perspective that’s always shifting.
When I first read TFIOS I felt like I started crying as soon as I opened the book and I didn’t stop until well after the last page. I felt like it was an ordeal. A great ordeal. A marvelous and terrible ordeal that we should all share — as funny as it was sad. But an ordeal is an ordeal however you want dress it up. I walked out of the cinema feeling like I’ve survived something similar.
But when the film started playing I didn’t immediately start crying. The film was a different kind of great and terrible ordeal, and it’s taken me this long to come to terms with that.
For me, it was Hazel’s parents.
I cried when Hazel couldn’t breathe, and seemed to be drowning, and her father bundled her in his arms with desperation in his eyes. I cried when her parents just held each other. At one point it seemed like the harder they held on the more I cried. For me, the film was a different kind of roller-coaster of laughing through tears. For me, Hazel chose who hurt her but her parents never could. And that made me infinitely sad. It’s true in the book too, I know, I just never really saw it until now.
And I know that’s not the point of the story, and that is so much more complex than I’ve really managed to say, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing that the film made me feel differently from the book. There was a perspective shift in the film. There always is when a first person narrative is told visually, like that stuff is hard, yo, and I liked it but I want to recognise that the change exists. It was a great film. I made me sadder than the book by some degrees because you can’t wish away pictures like you can wish away words.
Maybe it was the soundtrack too.
Maybe I just wasn’t high on book fumes, and the experience was different as a result.
Will you be going to see The Fault in Our Stars? The soundtrack really was just perfect, and it stuck so well to the book. It was full of hard truths, kisses, and heartbreaking moments that made it feel substantial to watch. It was real fab.