In short, it was really excellent and lovely and made me thoroughly emotional and in need of a lot of therapy chocolate, which was exactly how the book made me feel, which I think means it was successful. It retained the spirit of the book to a T. There were quite a few differences between the book and the movie, but most of them didn't matter and I didn't care because of the loveliness and emotional-ness.
And the acting, guys. THE ACTING. Ansel Elgort was insanely good as Augustus, and Shailene Woodley epitomized Hazel Grace, and I was mildly in love with Willem Dafoe as Van Houten. Also the Support Group sequence was flawless and Patrick was so freaking...Patrick.
PRO TIP, though. Don't re-read the book shortly before watching the movie. Because I did that. I thought, "Oh, I haven't read the book in two years, I'll re-read it a few days before the movie and re-capture the magic." And re-reading it did re-capture the magic. It was wonderful. And the movie was a DIFFERENT kind of magic that was also very wonderful. But it was different indeed, and because I finished re-reading it mere hours before I saw the movie, I found myself focusing on all the differences...which is why I need to see it again and NOT think about those things.
And IT IS WORTH SEEING MORE THAN ONCE!!! It is really, really good and I will buy it the second it comes out and watch it every day for a month with a big tub of ice cream and I will enjoy every second of it. So the moral of the story is to go see it. Multiple times.
Crap. TOO SOON!!
*breaks down in a puddle of tears*
*eats more chocolate*
Alright. The point of this was primarily because people wanted to know what was true to the book, what wasn't, and if the differences were a big deal. (again, if you were bugging me about this, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.)
****LOTS OF SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT****
(this is way more critical of a look at the book/movie than anyone should probably take. Sorry if it's long.)
(the book/movie differences that I actually took issue with are marked with asterisks.)
- The character of Kaitlyn was eliminated entirely. I thought this was fine, as she was not a great friend to Hazel anyway.
- In the book, Hazel wears a dress for Isaac in the trophy scene. Gus thought this was great because she was "going over to see a boy who is having a nervous breakdown...and gosh dang it, I am going to wear a dress for him." Hazel wore a t-shirt and jeans in the movie. This was also fine, because Gus complimented the color of the shirt in the middle of Isaac's mess, and it was adorbs.
- Hazel told her PARENTS that she was a grenade in the book. She gave the grenade speech to Gus on the swingset in the movie.
- Gus sat on the swingset in the movie. He made a point of never having sat on it in the book.
**- They eliminated the part where they created the want ad for the swing set. I was disappointed in this, as "Lonely, Vaguely Pedophelic Swing Set Seeks The Butts of Children" is one of my favorite things ever written and I think it goes a long way to show Hazel's sense of humor.
- A lot of Hazel's teenage angsty dialogue was removed, which made her seem more mellow. It didn't really bother me, but it was unexpected. It definitely changed her relationship with her parents, as a lot of the anger that she took out on them was not there.
- Hazel seemed to fall in love more quickly in the movie. She didn't tense up the first time Gus touched her, she didn't avoid the fact that she liked him, etc.
**- The matter of Caroline Mathers being Augustus' ex was not a part of the movie. She was never mentioned, and Hazel didn't stalk her facebook, and the notion that Hazel looked like Augustus' ex wasn't a factor in anything.
**- Speaking of facebook, Hazel didn't use facebook as a way to view what it would be like to be dead...looking at the pages of dead friends, seeing what people would post on people's wall after they died, thinking about how wrong everyone was about what dealing with cancer is like.
- Before leaving for Amsterdam, the scene where Gus is fighting with his parents about leaving was taken out. Gus shows up to the Lancaster's in a limo to pick them up instead, which was very romantic and a very Gus-like thing to do, and also didn't give away the fact that Gus was going to die in case people didn't read the book.
- The scene where Gus goes to get food in the airport terminal so he wouldn't have to see people stare at Hazel and get mad at them was eliminated. This wasn't really necessary to the plot anyway.
- When Hazel kissed Gus on the cheek on the plane, in the book Hazel's mom said "just so you know, I'm right here. Sitting next to you. Your mother," and in the movie she says "You two are so adorable!" She also bought Hazel's Oranjee diner dress for her as a romantic date gift instead of it just being something she brought. Overall, mom was much more pro-relationship and teenage cuteness in the movie. I think every girl who has had an overprotective mom was okay with this change.
**- BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT, not going to lie, was that the Iepen trees in Amsterdam weren't in season to be "snowing." I really wanted to see the spring snow. It sounded so pretty in the book. And they apparently DIDN'T FILM IN THE SPRING. Sort of an oversight if you ask me. Not sort of. Definitely. This was my only really valid complaint about the whole movie, actually.
**- Because the trees weren't snowing, it wasn't important that they sit outside at Oranjee. While the inside was lovely and kind of crazy romantic and I would have enjoyed it myself, it wasn't OUTSIDE with the SNOW ON THEIR SHOULDERS and UGH.
- Gus gave his "I am in love with you" speech at Oranjee instead of on the plane, like he did in the book.
- When they went to visit Van Houten, Lidewij answered the door instead of Van Houten, which mildly defeated the purpose of him seeing them and then slamming the door, saying there were apparitions, wanting them to leave, and THEN being let in by Lidewij. They were let in right away.
- Van Houton was not "rotund," because Wilem Defoe is not rotund, but the book is pretty clear about his rotund-ness.
- Some of Van Houten's more bitter, angry lines were eliminated, so he seemed a bit more like a disillusioned drunk than a severely angry, bitter man. A different characterization choice, but still excellent.
- Hazel threw out a "Fuck You" at Van Houten as they were leaving...that definitely didn't happen in the book.
- There was no foreshadowing about Gus' recurrence in the movie, and there was plenty in the book. There was also no evidence that Hazel's mom knew about it in advance.
- The movie glossed over a LOT of Gus' dying process, which was okay and probably appropriate, but I expected more because it was quite graphic in the book. There was no deliriousness, no getting thinner, no "pissing the bed" scene, not much anger, etc.
- The speech Gus gave to Monica's mom as they were egging the car was different than the speech in the book. Still wonderful and delightful, but different nonetheless.
**- The infamous Gas Station Scene was significantly shorter than it was in the book. This is not to say that the acting wasn't unbelievable, because it was. Like...Ansel did so well. There just wasn't ENOUGH of it. Which is a compliment to Ansel. Not a compliment to whoever cut it short.
**- Late Stage Gus was not any thinner than Healthy Gus. I understand not everyone can lose 30+ pounds for a role, but...it would have been more realistic if he had.
- In the book, Gus' funeral starts at the church, open casket (in which Hazel gives him cigarettes, gives her eulogy, etc.) and then moves to the grave site. In the movie, it is closed casket and the entire scene takes place at the grave site.
- Van Houten didn't break down over his dead daughter in Hazel's car as much as he did in the book, nor did Hazel really react with any sense of understanding.
- The pages Gus wrote for Hazel, in the book, were emailed to Van Houten, and Hazel had to ask Lidewij for them, and she emailed them to her after Hazel's long search through the Water's house. In the movie, Van Houten gives them to her in the car, Hazel ditches them, and finds them later after Isaac mentions them. She doesn't return to the Water's home.
- Gus's half sisters weren't in the movie at all, that I noticed. That was fine, as they (and their banker husbands and bratty children) were annoying.
- They made Gus 18 years old and Hazel 17, instead of 17 and 16. This isn't remotely important and it didn't matter, it just seemed like an odd thing to change to me.
- Hazel didn't declare herself a vegetarian in the movie. While her wanting to "limit the deaths she was responsible for" is kind of important to her characterization, it didn't take anything away from the story or anything.
Another detail that only I will care about: I own the earrings Hazel wore to Gus' funeral. They are from Anthropologie. I used to love them. Now they represent death and sadness and UGH. (and they're flower earrings...how can flowers be so sad? dumb.)
SO THAT'S IT, please don't let the differences make you not see the movie because it was so excellent and you will be missing out something fierce if you don't see it. NOT EVERY SECOND OF A BOOK CAN FIT INTO A 2 HOUR MOVIE, and most of the differences weren't necessary to plot, and it is still completely and utterly worth it.
It was everything I hoped it would be. John Green loves it. I loved it. Nerdfighteria and the internet community that has rallied around this book and the process of it becoming a movie will love it, and that is enough.
But...another PRO TIP:
If there are an overwhelming abundance of teenage girls in the theatre, maybe wait to see it another day. The piercing squeels screaching into uncontrollable sobbing is mildly distracting. They're only in it for Ansel, and while I get the appeal, the chances they've even read the book are slim, and one should share their TFiOS viewing experience with a more sophisticated friend who can laugh and cry in a way that is appropriate for being AROUND OTHER PEOPLE. (Like my movie date, Allyson!!!! Thanks for being awesome and sophisticated with me ;D )
That sounded pretentious. That's fine. I'm just practicing my best Hazel Grace Level of Pretentiousness, okay?
OKAY. Curses. TOO SOON.
I'm done kbye.
*resumes emotional eating*