When I got the e-mail from my Movie and Lunch Club letting me know we’d be seeing The Fault in our Stars I knew nothing about the award-winning book the film is based on. After looking it up on IMDb I wasn’t enthusiastic about seeing a film with teenagers in the leading parts and with a cancer theme piled on top of that. Oh, well, I thought, it’s an afternoon out so I e-mailed back, “Count me in!” Fast forward to Friday and I certainly didn’t expect to be sitting in a theater with a bunch of cry-babies (me included) for the latter quarter of the movie. One of the other widows in our group couldn’t even get out of her seat at the end. She had to sit there for five minutes composing her emotions before she could join us in the lobby and her face was so puffy from crying she looked like a person with a ragweed allergy who’d just spent the night sleeping on a pillow stuffed with those evil weeds. As one reviewer promised about The Fault in our Stars, “It will break and heal your heart.”
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” That’s a quote from the film and it’s talking about An Imperial Affliction, a factious novel that is discussed through-out the storyline of The Fault in our Stars. I feel that way about this movie. If you love love stories, if you love witty-but-deep characters, if you love emotional drama mixed with humor on the screen, and if you love dialogue that makes you wish you had a paper and pencil to record what you’re hearing to savor later you’ll love this movie. Did I say ‘love’ enough times in this paragraph? In case you missed a few ‘loves’ I loved this movie! I loved it so much I came home and ordered a copy of John Green’s book. It's classified as a young adult novel but a New York Times reviewer called it “a blend of melancholy, sweet, philosophical and funny” and it won a basket full of awards so I know I’ll---one more time---love the book as much as the movie.
Here’s my nutshell synopsis of the storyline: Sixteen year old Hazel Grace has thyroid cancer that had spread to her lungs and she has to haul an oxygen tank around where ever she goes. Seventeen year old Gus is an x-high school basketball star who lost a leg to cancer. They meet at a cancer support group and they agree to read each other’s favorite novels and they end up using a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to go to Amsterdam to meet the author of An Imperial Affliction---with shocking results. One of them, of course, dies later on but before that happens they both write each other's eulogy. In the eulogy Gus writes he says, “We don't get to choose if we get hurt in this world, but we do have a say in who hurts us. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.” Did I mention that I am smitten with Gus? Ansel Elgort, the actor who played the part, has the most expressive face and eyes and he reminded me of my husband, the early edition. If Ansel needs a grandmother, I’d adopt him in a heartbeat. I’d adopt Shailene Woodley, too, who played Hazel Grace. Those two kids should go far in the movie industry.
I suppose I’ve gushed about The Fault in our Stars long enough so I’m moving on to the lunch conversation we had afterward. The movie, of course, was the discussed and was loved (there’s that word again) by each and every single one of the fifteen of us who attended. We also touched on soap operas and when some of the ladies were having trouble remembering the names of characters they’d been watching for decades, one lady said: “Have you ever noticed that it takes a village to have a conversation at our age? What one of us has trouble remembering, someone else has to fill in.”
Then something incredible happened. Well, at least to me, a woman who has been longing to talk politics in my off-line life. We got on the topics of Hillary, Eric Cantor and cable news and I spoke up as often as the others. Pin a badge of courage on my proud chest! And best of all, no one looked at me like they wanted to say, “Go away. You can’t play in our conservative sandbox anymore.” It was a great conversation with various opinions expressed and respected. And I discovered that at least three others in the group think very much like I do on the political topics we covered.
I don’t have a good ending for this post other than to say this month’s Movie and Lunch Club ended an already great week on an even higher note. ©