– Posted by Alyssa
Director: Josh Boone
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Nat Wolff
The overtone is that of the hipster generation, and Death is just a character who takes up screen time throughout the film. The sadness is juxtaposed with true joy, making every smile and every tear the gut-wrenching kind.
Hazel (Woodley) is living with cancer in her lungs that makes it difficult for her to breathe. She needs oxygen in her nose through a portable machine that pumps the life right into her. It’s devastating to watch this illness overwhelm her in moments of her life including a trip to the Anne Frank museum, where flights of stairs are a plight for her to overcome. Despite her cynicism about the disease (and the clichéd stories about it), Hazel finds herself in a cancer support group due to the wishes of her mother (Dern). At the group Hazel meets the witty Isaac (Wolff) who loses his sight and Gus (Elgort), a charming optimist who lost a leg due to his cancer. Gus and Hazel start a friendship that stares their fate right in the face and soon it blossoms into a romance. Determined to do everything in his power to make Hazel happy, Gus uses his “wish” (Hazel’s was wasted on Disney World, much to Gus’ dismay) to bring Hazel to Amsterdam to meet her favorite author. It’s a race to the heartbreaking finish and during the race tears are bound to shed. However, Hazel and Gus relationship proves that there is value to living each day, like it very well may be their last.
Woodley is the perfect leading lady for this generation, proving her versatility in dramas (The Descendants), action films (Divergent), and romance (The Fault in Our Stars). Elgort, on the other hand, is a newer face, starring alongside Woodley in the Divergent series. He is a charmer who lights up the screen. He’s pretty incredible as Gus and the chemistry between them is undeniable. While I’m still not convinced that it won’t be weird to see Woodley and Elgort as sister and brother in Insurgent, this is a film that pokes at your heart with equal parts devastation and elation