Astrology: Film: Review: ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ (2014)

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

The teen protagonists who fall in love in The Fault in Our Stars, based on John Green’s megahit book, are just like most adolescents, except for one huge difference. They’re cancer survivors, who somehow opt to weather their days with as much normalcy as they can muster, despite knowing how limited their remaining time is on the planet.

Directed by Josh Boone, the narrative of The Fault in Our Stars is as quotidian as it gets, the only disruptions to the story being emergency hospital visits. Everything else plays on Saturn, whose domain is restriction, caution, limitation, time, persistence and, yes, survival.

The female teen is Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley), whose thyroid cancer has gravely affected her respiration. One physical aspect of her Saturnine baggage is a breathing tube and portable oxygen tank which she wheels around in a back pack, like an upright canister vacuum.

Her mother (Laura Dern), seeing a downward mood spiral in Hazel, encourages the girl to join a cancer-support group, where she meets an instantly smitten Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), whose prosthetic leg – “I’m part-cyborg,” he quips – is a result of his disease. Time passes and their affection grows. Isaac (Nat Wolff), another teen with a cancer that’s eating away at his eyesight, is their more high-strung pal.

A high point of Hazel and Augustus’ relationship is a visit to Amsterdam to meet Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe), an expatriate author whose book about cancer has become a bible to Hazel, and a visit to the Anne Frank house which elevates “the beauty that still remains,” inspirational words which the pair have already embraced.

There are no false notes here. Nor does the Saturnine task of self-mastery give these two cancer survivors a free pass or tolerate any bitterness, even when they write peer eulogies. If there’s any “lesson” the film imparts, it’s the meaningfulness of a life centered on Saturnine detail: it’s not about how many people remember you after your death, but the depth and value and innate understanding of those who do.

Astrology Film Rating: ♄  (Saturn)

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