It’s finally summer and that means hot afternoons spent in icy cool theaters watching this year’s blockbuster films! Right now the movie everyone is talking about is “The Fault In Our Stars”, based on John Green’s best selling novel of the same name. The movie has been well received, scoring a 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, and is being hailed as this summer’s best romance. “The Fault In Our Stars” has stirred up more then just a buzz in the young adult cancer community; the plot, and subsequent romance, revolves around two young adult cancer patients.
Without giving too much away, the stories follows Hazel Grace Lancaster, played by Shailene Woodley, is a sixteen-year-old cancer patient. After going to a support group for others her age she meets, and later falls in love with, Augustus Waters, played by Ansel Elgort. The movie deals with the emotional, phycological, and relationship issues that young adults face when impacted by cancer. Eileen, a 16 year Survivor of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, attended the advanced preview of The Fault in Our Stars with UCF and the Cool Kids’s Campaign and shares her thoughts on the film with us.
“About a week prior to being invited to see the preview of The Fault in Our Stars I found a lump on my neck. Fears I can’t even begin to describe took hold. I had been through this before. 16 years ago I was Hazel. 16 years ago I was falling in love while being treated for cancer. Today I have a family, a toddler who needs me. I suddenly felt irresponsible for even considering the life I have. So while I waited to find out my fate, which sounded worse with every phone call from a doctor, I grabbed a box of tissues, re-read the book, and planted myself in a seat next to some wonderful friends to watch what I thought was going to tear me to pieces. I was already barely holding myself together inside.
Being a survivor means that you know cancer is not as beautiful as Hollywood makes it out to be. People probably don’t want to be faced with reality in the movie theater anyway, but right after the movie was over I felt a little jilted. There was no noise from the oxygen generator. In fact, I never even saw an oxygen generator, just the portable tanks. That actress didn’t look swollen from steroids. None of the awful parts came across except that she couldn’t breathe when using stairs. I felt like they had missed an opportunity to show some of these things. I felt like people should know what it is really like, but I think that was just because I was so angry at the prospect of facing it all again. I’m angry for everyone who has to face it all.
As my night wore on I thought about it more though. Eventually I realized that I was actually feeling pretty good about things. I was reminded why I made the choices I did since going into remission. I remembered what it was like to fall in love regardless of what it meant. I appreciated all the humor the film offered. I laughed as much as I cried. The message of this story still comes across perfectly and I loved watching it unfold. I was swept up by the characters and how perfectly the actors captured them. There’s always time for love and life isn’t over if you are still living. I decided it was okay that the ugly parts weren’t highlighted. My heart still broke at the right time. My tissues still wound up soaked. It was still a good story. I can’t wait to see it again.”