Here is a love story that tells us more than the poetry of love.
By Ramesh Menon
Cancer kills more people much before they die. But here, in The Fault in Our Stars, we see two teenagers tell us that there is more to life even with death lurking in the shadows. Based on a bestseller by John Green, the American blockbuster unravels how 16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, played by Shailene Woodley, waits for death. She is suffering from fatal thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. She has to be strapped to a portable oxygen tank all the time to help her breathe adequately. Her parents gently persuade her to join a cancer support group to make friends, but Hazel is hesitant. She does not want to open her wounds to the world. Not yet.
As fate would have it, the cancer support group meeting opens a new world for her. Hazel meets charming 17-year-old Augustus Waters, who suffers from osteosarcoma that leads to amputation of one leg. But he is happy as ever with an artificial leg and the fact that he is still alive. Then there is Issac, played by Nat Wolff, who has lost one eye to cancer and the other one is to be removed soon. But he laughs at the tragic realism of it all. Augustus, played by Ansel Elgort, has the courage to joke about his prosthetic leg. No self pity.
Soon, Hazel and Augustus find their lives getting closer, as it matures into love. Ironically both are living on the edge. But their quest to live a full life, admire the little things of life, soak in moments of joy are all so real. Acerbic wit comes as comic relief after tear jerking episodes that brings out the pathos and helplessness of not only cancer patients but their loved ones. At one point when she is battling with death as a 12 year old, Hazel’s mother brings herself to tell her to let go as she is unable to witness the pain of the child.
Both Hazel and Augustus know that cancer was written in the stars but they also know that it is up to them to make the best of the time left. They decide that till oblivion they will be together. Hazel says: “My love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever with the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”
Made on a budget of around $12,00,000, it grossed over $48,00,000 in the first week in the US. It is a film that will stay in your mind long after you have watched it. You realise that there is life beyond cancer. And love.