In the world of book adaptations, there are few instances when movies can truly compare to their fictional counterparts. Books are more of a time commitment, but they offer more detail and they often give audiences the chance to view the world from a character or a set of character’s perspectives. There’s something about reading a book that is extremely intimate whereas a movie screening is not. This becomes especially clear when I finally watched The Fault in our Stars onscreen.
The Fault in our Stars is an intimate read, but director Josh Boone does a great job of bringing author John Green’s bestselling novel to the big screen. Instead of manipulating the book and making major changes to suit his own whims and purposes, Boone recognized that he had found a witty writer in Green. So, he simply trimmed the fat from the novel, cutting out some of the minor details, characterizations and backstories that would have been cumbersome for the theatrical audience catching the story for the first time.
I’m the type of person who read the book first followed by watching it on screen, however, I’m not a book purist but there were few minor things I’ve noticed that didn’t make it/was changed to the movie adaptation.
Hazel and Augustus’ first interaction:
Book: Hazel first notices Augustus staring at her during a cancer support group meeting.
Movie: Hazel and Augustus bump into each other before the meeting, defusing some of the awkward tension that marks the ensuing staring contest.
Book: Hazel’s former best friend Kaitlyn, with whom she hasn’t spoken much since she got cancer.
Movie: This Character does not appear.
Book: Hazel describes her dad as a frequent crier.
Movie: Hazel’s dad is downright stoic compared to his literary counterpart.
Hazel lets a little girl try her oxygen at the mall:
Book: Hazel lets a little girl named Jackie try her oxygen during a trip to the mall.
Movie: This doesn’t happen.
Book: Augustus tells Hazel of an ex-girlfriend, Caroline Mathers, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor and of watching her slowly degenerate before her death.
Movie: She isn’t mentioned.
We don’t overhear Gus argue with his parents:
Book: Hazel drives to Augustus’ house to pick him up before their trip to Amsterdam and overhears him crying and fighting with his mom.
Movie: Augustus picks up Hazel in a limousine, not a hint of distress to be found.
Gus dies quicker in the movie:
Book: Gus spends weeks getting sicker and sicker and we see how bad he gets before the end.
Movie: The details are left out and he quickly gets sick before the end.
The movie’s ending, when Hazel finds the letter.
Book: She runs around looking for the letter like she’s solving a mystery. It’s sad actually.
Movie: Van Houten just hands it to her.
About the title of the novel:
Book: While in the hospital, Hazel reads a letter written by Peter van Houten, wherein he writes a famous quote from Julius Caesar, saying ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars, but in ourselves.’ This is a big part showing why the book was titled ‘The Fault in our Stars.’
Movie: This never happens in the movie.
While such differences from the book might be minor details, staying loyal to the book would have been better. Shailene and Ansel, however, were nothing short but awesome in giving justice to their roles
Is there any point in seeing the movie?
For me films and books are separate mediums, each with their own merits to offer. In the case of TFIOS: The Movie, I’d say the performances are the biggest draw. There just isn’t a bad actor in the bunch, even the dude playing the Dutch waiter is Oscar-worthy, and he has maybe three lines.
Should I skip the book?
Never. Reading is awesome. The Fault In Our Stars was a beautiful book, with beautiful moments and a beautiful story. Augustus and Hazel have a special place in my heart now.
But yeah, my heart still hurts. A lot.
Your sweetest Melody, ❤