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ROB HEDELT reviews movies and TV shows,  and is a  columnist for The Free Lance-Star. You can email him at

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Young star Sheilene Woodley makes “The Fault in Our Stars” a sweet, though tragic romance

It’s tough to create a sweet romance about two teens falling in love while dying of cancer.

Yet that’s just what’s accomplished in “The Fault in Our Stars,” the much-beloved young adult book about a girl with cancer who meets the love of her life at a cancer-support group.

Though the script tries to be far too glib at times, typically in the dialogue for the young male lead (Ansel Elgort as Gus), the strength of the tale—romance is precious when time is too—powers the film past that.

None of that would be so touching and avoid clichés the way it does if it wasn’t for the performance of Shailene Woodley as Hazel.

She plays the young girl with stage 4 cancer with an anger and yet a grace, with bitterness about dying but with a determination to live to the extent she can.

The underlying theme of the film—even those with terminal illness can live, love and experience much in lives sadly cut short—really is driven home in the way Woodley’s Hazel Grace blossoms in love.

She’s an amazing young actress, with a talent to cut through all the bull to convey real, honest emotions. In some moments, the way her character is moved by real love is simply breathtaking.

The movie deserves a bit of criticism for making these terminal patients’ romance feel a bit too rosy. But then, the alternative would have been to make it so much a downer that few would have wanted to see it.

Instead, it’s a movie that focuses on the magic the two young people feel for each other, while never totally shying away from the painful truth that neither of them have long to live.


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