Nadia Sadiq, Staff Writer
Edited by Victoria Chiu
Need I say more? The movie adaptation of John Green’s young adult novel of the same title came out just a few months ago. The story of Hazel and Augustus charmed many of us to the movie theatres when it was released in June.
A basic breakdown—and I mean extremely basic—of the film would be this: girl meets boy, boy and girl like each other, boy and girl fall in love. What it doesn’t cover is the fact that both teenagers are cancer survivors that met in the Literal Heart of Jesus where a ball-less guy leads a support group. Not exactly what you were expecting, right?
Our leading couple consists of Hazel Lancaster, who has terminal thyroid cancer that spread to her lungs, and Augustus Waters, who lost a leg to bone cancer. They share a love of books and a sharp wit. Another beloved character is Issac, Augustus’ best friend and the whole reason he was at the support group in the first place. A few jokes are told by Mr. Waters at the expense of Issac, who loses his one good eye to cancer during the course of the book.
There was concern from readers of the book when it was revealed that Shailene Woodley would be playing our beloved Hazel Grace Lancaster. Even with Mr. Green himself assuring them that she was amazing, there were still whispers—many, if not all, of which were put to rest when we got to see her in action.
There seemed to be some sort of marketing for the film everywhere you turned. Some posters there, a tweet here, table of merchandise right in front of you, the book on display at every bookstore. The most interesting—in my humble opinion—was on YouTube.
No, not the trailers that you couldn’t skip while waiting for your video. John Green was invited on set during the movie’s production and did talk about it quite a lot on his channel, VlogBrothers, where he creates videos with his younger brother Hank Green. There were some tours around set, interviews with the cast, and many stories that were shared. Another awesome thing was the blue carpet at the premier, but that didn’t have much of an effect on box-office numbers.
Anybody on Tumblr? If so, you may remember the “Demand Our Stars” promo tour voting, which was done by reblogging the map of your state—sorry, Canada!—to try and get the stars of the movie to visit. The four states were chosen by which maps had the most notes. Another very smart choice in my opinion—after all, it did spread like wildfire.
If you thought the book was heartbreaking enough, you may not want to read this next bit. John Green based the character of Hazel off of Ms. Esther Earl, a fan of Green’s that had thyroid cancer. She had met the author at LeakyCon 2009 – a convention that many Harry Potter nerds (like me) know about. Esther had inspired John to write the book. Her sister, Evangeline, made a statement saying that this book was based off her sister, who passed away in 2010.
So much surrounds the book, movie, and the fandom that a single article couldn’t do it justice. This movie (and book) isn’t about cancer or dying; it’s about love, about a couple of teenagers that have seen too much, about life—both the good and the bad. There were laughs and there were tears.
I’ll leave the metaphors to Augustus, but I highly recommend giving either the book or movie
(or both) a shot. Even if it’s not your usual cup of tea.