What the F*** Was I Watching? The Fault in Our Stars

What the F*** Did I Just See? Name-Dropping Anne Frank and Meaningless Plot Points

I’ve never read The Fault in Our Stars, mainly because I’m not a tween girl. I can’t fault it for that, so when faced with a lazy Saturday night after a long vacation, my fiancée and I decided to do a double feature. Because we don’t like to be predictable, we decided to go with the remake of Carrie and The Fault in Our Stars. While the former provided nothing in terms of surprises, hitting every major plotline in the original and having them on full display in the trailer, The Fault in Our Stars did offer some surprises, none of which were any good.

For the most part, I just assumed that The Fault in Our Stars was going to be a straightforward story about two kids with cancer falling in love despite the fact that they both know it is doomed from the start; it is essentially that, but there are a few wrinkles that are pretty head-scratching.

Early on in the film, we become very aware of a book that main character is completely obsessed with. Like crazy obsessed. Like how your little cousin can talk and talk about their goddamn Pokémon collection despite everyone trying hard not to listen to him, that kind of obsession. The book is about cancer, because that’s what this girl is into: her cancer, which I can understand, as I’m sure that cancer becomes omnipresent in your life when you’re essentially handed a death sentence. But much in the way Shailene Woodley’s breakout role in The Secret Life of an American Teenager seemed so preoccupied with sex before marriage, so too is this film about cancer.

And Rik Smits.  Because the kids go crazy for Rik Smits.
And Rik Smits. Because the kids go crazy for Rik Smits.

Anyway, so they love this cancer book a bunch and they start corresponding with the author over email. He’s cordial, offering them a meeting if they ever find themselves in Amsterdam, which sounds like an unvitation if I’ve ever heard one. After some trials and tribulations, cancer boy manages to cash in his Make-a-Wish for an all expenses paid trip to Amsterdam where not a single joint is smoked. Legit, these kids are all riddled with cancer and they don’t even light a jay in a hash bar. Fuck them. Hashtag YOLO, bros, and in this case, for not much longer.

So they get to Amsterdam and head to the house of the writer, who is played by Willem Dafoe. This is a red flag to the audience because at best, Dafoe has been brought in to be a huge dick, worst case, a homicidal maniac. Homicide seems a little tacked on when the main characters are already dying, so he’s just a huge prick. For no real reason, either. The kids are there for about five minutes getting berated by Dafoe about how they’re just a couple of crybabies that just want attention. He doesn’t say (to my recollection) that they should just go off and die already, but the point is made. And then they leave.

“And don’t come back!”

That’s it. The whole first half of this movie is a build up to this trip to Amsterdam and to get these kids in front of this author that means so much to them and the whole scene lasts five minutes and the kids just get completely destroyed. That’s not completely true, though. Apologetically, the author’s assistant brings the kids on a tour of the happiest place in Amsterdam: the Anne Frank house. Because what’s a movie about kids with cancer without bringing up the darkest period in human history? It ain’t shit, that’s what, so the kids go, and the whole scene is basically meant to draw comparisons between the plight of a girl struggling with her cancer with a girl that had to hide in an attic for weeks while the Gestapo tried to murder her and her entire family. And then, the two leads make out in the attic to the applause of the other tourists stomping around the place where an entire family feared for their lives. I kid you not; this shit happened.

"Do me right here.  Right where Peter van Pels gave Anne her first kiss." -Hazel, The Fault in Our Stars
“Do me right here. Right where Peter van Pels gave Anne her first kiss.” -Hazel, The Fault in Our Stars

To call this whole scene tacky is an understatement. Remember when Justin Bieber got criticized for assuming Anne Frank would have liked his music? Yeah, he’s a douche, but this is like if he wrote that in his own man-seed. It’s a gross moment in a story that really doesn’t need to be this gross. The loose comparisons drawn between cancer and Nazis is weak to say the least; the kiss in the middle of what was someone’s harsh reality is just plain exploitative. Fuck this shit. Go watch The Hunger Games.