Reviewed by: Kari Rothstein—first time reviewer
How did bad things come about? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
How can we help teens and children with cancer?
compare an optimistic versus fatalistic view of life
Augustus says he he intends to lead an extraordinary life.
Hazel says she feels like hand-grenade that's going to blow at some point and hurt everyone.
What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer
In the movie, it is suggested that one should think about all the beauty around us and be happy about that. This is true, but if that’s all you have, it misses the big picture and falls sadly and tragically short of the potential and opportunities provided by God for each soul. Discuss why?
What’s dangerously wrong with Hazel’s view that oblivion follows death?
Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer
Why was Hell made? Answer
Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer
What should you be willing to do to stay out of Hell? Answer
What if I don’t believe in Hell? Answer
THE GOOD NEWS—How to be saved from Hell. Answer
|Featuring:||Shailene Woodley … Hazel Grace Lancaster
Ansel Elgort … Augustus Waters
Nat Wolff … Isaac
Willem Dafoe … Peter Van Houten
Laura Dern … Mrs. Lancaster
Lotte Verbeek … Lidewij Vliegenthart
Sam Trammell … Mr. Lancaster
Emily Peachey … Monica
Mike Birbiglia … Patrick
Temple Hill Entertainment
|Distributor:||Fox 2000 Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.|
Life in all of its majesty and misery is the most exquisite pageant that humans bear witness to. Every human will enter into this world a vulnerable baby who must learn to adapt and survive all manner of situations. Humans will also have to face death and reconcile the meaning of their life. Along the way, some will achieve glory and fame, while many others will struggle with all manner of pain. It’s no surprise that “The Fault in Our Stars” examines some of the most pressing issues that weigh on the human psyche: pain, how you develop or find your life’s philosophy, and facing what comes after death.
What kind of world would you create? Answer
John Green’s moving story of a young cancer patient Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is based on Green’s experiences as a chaplain dealing with sick children. He wanted to express how beautifully and fully human that sick children are. Hazel, a thyroid cancer patient whose cancer has spread to her lungs, must deal not only with normal teenage feelings, but also with being terribly ill. Her parents force her to attend a cancer patient support group for teens where she one day encounters someone who will change here life: Augustus Waters. Augustus, a young amputee and fellow cancer patient challenges Hazel and the journey of their love becomes the stuff of legends.
The movie mentions many times a line from one of Hazel’s favorite books that says, “pain demands to be felt.” Pain does demand to be felt. Children and adults every day deal with the pain, indignity and uncertainty of cancer. Jesus showed much compassion to the infirm in his Earthly ministry, and it’s important to remember that pain does demand to be felt. Other people suffer pain from other illnesses or loss or worry. Yes, pain demands to be felt. You cannot get well unless you deal with a problem, but how do we deal with pain?
In “The Fault in Our Stars” we see characters deal with pain through evasion, distraction and even alcoholism. Some of the greatest comfort comes when Hazel is inspired by Anne Frank’s observations that beauty is all around and finding happiness in that. Augustus seeks to deal with life by hoping that he will lead an extraordinary life. Developing your life’s philosophy is an important part of each person’s journey.
It’s perhaps most regrettable that one of the few Christians depicted in the movie does little other than say, “Jesus is your friend” and lead a dysfunctional, anemic support group. People are looking for love and for hope, what better place to find that love than in Jesus Christ?
The characters in this movie are all facing issues with death, either their own or that of a loved one. The saddest part of this story is that none of the characters profess to trusting in Jesus. Death can be frightening, but thanks to the precious blood of Jesus, it need not be feared, for he has conquered sin and death (John 16:33).
It’s very difficult to watch characters on the brink of death or who need encouragement not be able to draw from the strength of Jesus. How much then should this film remind us that everyone around us who does not proclaim Jesus as Lord of their life is in danger of eternal separation from the one who can grant them infinite peace and ultimate healing. How much should it make us want to proclaim the Good News and reach out to people with genuine love and concern.
As for the content issues the movie is populated with a bit of bad language (20+ misuses of God’s name, 1 use of “f” word, “s” words (7) and S.O.B. (1), for example.
For sexual content we see couples kissing and groping each other. A woman is seen only in a towel. One couple engages in sex with much kissing and touching, although only her bare back and side of breast are seen. The couple is also later seen strategically covered by sheets, with her bare back visible.
The film does feature some mild violence while a character experiences a breakup and smashes items and later eggs a car.
On several occasions characters, even those underage, drink alcohol. Augustus also uses cigarettes as a “metaphor” is frequently seen carrying them in his hand or mouth.
Some viewers might be disturbed by the amount of medical trauma that plays out on screen. It could be difficult to watch characters going through procedures and struggling with the effects of drugs and illness.
The title of the film is inspired by William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. Mr. Shakespeare would certainly approve of both the quality of the movie, especially the acting. Shailene Woodley gives a performance full of grace, warmth and reserve. Ansel Elgort is charming and endearing as Augustus Waters. Laura Dern and Sam Trammell are supportive and almost ideal parents as Frannie and Michael, respectively. Willem Dafoe turns in a complex performance as Van Houten. The pace of the movie is quick and easy to follow. It’s beautifully shot and well appointed with an appropriately accompanying soundtrack.
While some will fear oblivion, Christians can take heart that those who follow Jesus know that we don’t face oblivion, rather we will find comfort and better things to come (1 Corinithians 2:9). The saddest part of “The Fault in Our Stars” therefore does not rest in the bad language or in the sexual content, but that we see characters that struggle whom we as Christians know we can offer hope. While some may be critical of the film’s depictions of Christians (i.e., clichéd guitar playing, guy who talks about being in the church as “being in the literal heart of Jesus”), it’s important to remember that those without the hope of and promise of better things to come we must show love. Songs and circle sharing time are fine, but what people are looking for is a real connection.
The biggest redeeming lesson to be taken from “The Fault in Our Stars” is remembering that there is good in the world, there is hope for the broken and Christians should feel duty-bound, nay honored to share that message of where goodness, love and hope truly come from.
Is the movie acceptable for young children? No. Does the movie have something to say to those of us who are entrenched in dealing with pain in our lives? Yes. Ultimately, it is a flawed movie with some moral issues, but it can be an inspiring challenge of how we live our comfortable lives and how we should reach out into a broken world and offer them the hope that we have.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.