A movie The Fault in Our Stars is adopted from a novel of the same name. They tell a story about two young people’s love and their lives with cancer. Base on the novel, director keeps the main content but cuts some of it. In this case, there are many similarities and differences between the novel and the movie in characters, plot and settings, themes and symbols. Although some similarities are evident, these differences are striking and deserve thorough investigation.
There are many changes of the characters’ choices and descriptions when the film telling the story. Firstly, some characters who are significate in the novel are omitted in the movie. As Hazel’s friend, Kaitlyn plays a role of companying and helping her. Thanks for Kaitlyn’s help, Hazel gets the last letter of Augustus which is found easily with Isaac’s straight guidance in the movie. Besides, Augustus’ former girlfriend, Caroline and Augustus’ sister with her nuclear family aren’t appear in the movie.
However, both the movie and the novel tell a story that happened to two teenagers, Hazel and Augustus, and their families, so the protagonists are the same. On the other hand, some characters’ appearances have some differences. For example, Isaac is a long-faced, skinny boy with straight blond hair in the book, conversely, he has totally different brown curls in the movie. Both novel and movie shows that Hazel is a girl struggling to find her own life and the meaning in it.
One of her precious characteristics is that she desperately wants to reduce the harm caused by her existence on Earth. Augustus is unique, he would like to leave a mark in this world. Furthermore, the love and bravery between two teenagers are expressed successfully. Another important character is Peter Van Houten, who is the author of the book An Imperial Affliction (AIA). As well as the novel’s description, he is a rude drunkard in the movie.
Most of the key events in the plot are included in the movie, while some of them are cut because of the limit of the film’s length. From the moment they met in Indianapolis and attracted to each other, to they go to Amsterdam after several twists and turns to find an answer, and the final end, the whole process is shown in the movie.
However, the different settings appear at the beginning. In the movie, two protagonists come across at the staircase, which is more dramatic than meeting in the support group in the novel. Unlike the book shows, in the movie, after greeting Augustus\’ parents, they go directly to the basement for watching V for Vendetta, then share their views of life and favorite books with each other. After several days of contact, because both of them like this book, they get in touch with Peter Van Houten to find the ending of this book. As the novel describes, when Hazel and her mother go to pick up Augustus to airports, they hear Augustus’ argument with his parents accidently.
A foreshadowing is placed that because of the recurrence of Augustus’ cancer, Augustus’ mother wants him to stay at Indianapolis and receives cancer treatments, but he doesn’t. In the movie, these scenes were replaced simply by Augustus comes in Hazel’s home. It’s similar that in the novel and the movie, Hazel needs to carry an oxygen tank with her to help her breath. This made her feel uneasy to communicate with her peers.
Only when she is staying with children, she feels like a normal person. In the novel Hazel shows her cannula with the girl in the mall while in the movie, it happens in the airport. Another difference is that they arrived in Amsterdam in the spring and sat outside Oranje to admire the Spring snow in the novel, in contrast, it is in the fall in the movie. In addition, Augustus and Hazel are sitting in the romantic indoor restaurant, and Augustus expresses his love to Hazel there instead of on the plane in the novel.
The description of Peter Van Houten’s house is different. Unlike an empty room with paper basket in the book, Peter’s house is littered with letters. When Augustus thinks his life is uncertain, they hold a pre-funeral at the support group, nevertheless in the movie, it happened in a church. In all, the movie makes many changes about the plot.
Finally, the themes and symbols are not completely same between the movie and the novel. As for the themes, both two versions embody the love and bravery existing between Hazel and Augustus. The film focuses on the love story of two cancer patients, highlighting protagonist’s views on love and life through the life scenes and their communications. Moreover, the novel not only includes the themes mentioned in the movie, but also joined the thinking of the reality of terminal cancer which has huge influences on their unusual lives. At the same time, the book also shows how the two teenagers and their parents live with cancer. In this case, instead of just being moved and inspired by their love and bravery, readers can be inspired to reflect on themselves.
Furthermore, it can’t be ignored that most of the symbols are mentioned in the movie: “Always”, “Okay”, “Water”, “Cigarette”, and “Grenade”. “Always” is a symbol of love between Isaac and his girlfriend Monica. Similarly, the word “Okay” that throughout movie stands for the sincere true love between Hazel and Augustus. It’s an intriguing coincidence that “Water” is both the water in Hazel’s lung that makes her life in a mass and Augustus’ surname.
“Cigarette” is a sign for Augustus. He often puts a cigarette but does not light it, which is a metaphor that: “You put the killing thing between your teeth, but you don’t give the power to do its killing.” There is a presence of grenade is that is how Hazel calls herself. She thinks her cancer is like a grenade that can hurt the people who love her. In addition, director leaves out the “swing set”, which stands for Hazel’s healthy and carefree childhood.
Overall, both the movie and the novel show a moving and spirting story to us. They are all successful pieces of arts that let me think more about lives and love. Depending on the characters, plot and settings, themes and symbols in the book, the director changed a lot to make the movie briefer and easier to be understood within just two hours. Therefore, although there are some noticeable similarities, the differences between movie and book are pronounced in each aspect.
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