The book to movie adaptation that has recently been swelling the hearts of teenagers and young adults around the country and globe has more than just the love story making an impact.

Although the young adult novel by John Green has been out for quite some time now, the movie’s recent release has turned heads from new fans also. But why is everyone so interested and emotional about it?

The movie is about a teenage girl called Hazel Grace, suffering from cancer, she meets a boy named Augustus Waters, who has every characteristic a girl can dream of, except he also has cancer. They both fall helplessly in love and have the most romantic time, as best as they can through the hardship of terminal illness.

The movie is filled with both heart-warming and heart-breaking scenes. It’s a real tear-jerker whether that be from Augustus’ light humour or from the tragic events that follow later in the story.

The topic of the movie is about cancer, and “kids biting it from cancer”, something that hasn’t been a big thing going around Hollywood, especially with the main star wearing a cannula. Ansel Elgort, male star of the movie who plays Augustus Waters, was interviewed by BBC about his reaction and the movie’s motifs and what he thinks about keeping small details such as the physical look of Hazel requiring something to help her breathe; “It’s not often when a studio movie would have their leading lady having a cannula [around] her mouth always or in the movie poster let alone, and that’s what Hollywood doesn’t do very often, we were really proud to do something like that.”

He goes on to say  that they’re proud to actually show the disease and not get rid of the cannula, because that’s how it’s written in the book, including Augustus’ leg which all helped to stay true to the novel. He also briefly explains that everyone has dealt with cancer in some sort of way such as knowing someone or going through it themselves, making the movie relevant for everyone.

The theme was also mentioned on Bustle, they said how fans were glad they kept the cannula as they feared the producers would leave it out in an attempt to keep the movie looking attractive. This helped it stay on the right track; maintaining those small details which most Hollywood producers would like to avoid to make the movie more appealing to a wider and younger audience.

A reason why it’s hardly been done before is because of the scary issue of cancer. Sometimes themes in movies can get too real and too touching, which explains all the crying.

But does the movie fulfil its part of showing the reality of cancer or does it romanticise it?  The NPR blog talked to three young women who have also been affected by the disease and asked them if the movie represents cancer realistically. They all agreed that they could relate to some parts of Hazel’s life and what she goes through, except that she looks too “put together” and “not unwell enough”.

John Green the author of the novel, on which the movie is based, wrote the character of Hazel Grace on a real cancer patient, Esther Earl, whom he knew and who wrote reports to him about her experiences with the illness. So the character isn’t based on assumptions and research on the internet but on a real-life person, which gives a more realistic look on cancer and the patients it consumes.

According to ABC News, for some viewers cancer as a subject is too unbearable to speak about but for others, they said they had a “good healthy cry” from it. Despite the movie being based on cancer, it had characters who really understood the illness and the general reaction of others towards cancer patients.

The movie also seems to have created a contest for real-life cancer patients and former patients to enter to win a chance to be part of the movie featuring as one of the patients at the support group which Hazel Grace attends. This  was another detail added to help make the story and on-screen acting more authentic.

Whether cancer is a good subject for a book or movie to cover is a personal question, but it is arguably worthwhile to show the troubles that people go through when diagnosed with something so serious.

As Elgort explains in his BBC interview, the movie is mainly about living “in happiness and it’s hopeful… and it’s really about appreciating something that’s in front of you and it’s not just a sad story.”



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