Young Love Embraces Adversity in Teary, Triumphant Flick

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Young Love Embraces Adversity in Teary, Triumphant Flick

Do you recall the introduction to a 1970 love story --- “What can you say about a 24-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant. That she loved Mozart, Bach, the Beatles and me?

Ryan O’Neal (as Oliver Barrett IV) , a Harvard law student, spoke those words about the death of Ali McGraw (Jennifer Cavalieri), a music student. Sold as a young adult weeper, “Love Story” became a movie powerhouse that popularized a precise definition that “love means never having to say you are sorry.”


“Fault in Our Stars” pairs a “just friends” teen-couple , Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort) , as two cancer suffers valiantly putting on relative normal day to day emotions , knowing that oblivion will likely come sooner not later.

Hazel mocks her mom and dad’s smothering tactics which include a twelve step styled  young cancer patients feel and smile group. Although the moderator spins smiley accomplishments, Hazel’s character  openly mocks the upbeat  “on the same journey” guitar strings, countering a “depression” diagnosis by  essentially stating: “I’m depressed about dying.” (And a daily diet of realty shows, doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, and support groups!)


The young skeptic finally meets an upbeat friend who jolts her moribund complacency. Gus mocks dying by poking a cigarette between his teeth. He does not light it. He describes it as a control metaphor.

A critical “wish” derives from intellectual curiosity which solidifies “Fault’s” not quite what you expected spin on the inevitable

Stressing the value of quality time, the two young people hash out  a  compromise in the pitfalls of love (pain) and the consequences of aloneness (pain). Referring to the epidemic of suicide bombers,  Hazel describes herself as a “grenade” and she wants to minimize the hurting hearts.

Still, “Fault” challenges the “do it all” alone movement  applying its theme of what a difference  friends with benefits make when dealing with adversity, particularly when neither abandon the other in a crisis.

Bring your tissues, yes; those grasping the challenge may not need them.  

One question --- would hospitals bar admittance of the non-ICU lover due to not being a family member? For the story, was this a family preference or widespread circumstance?  If the latter, well, it needs to change.

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