The Fault In Our Stars doesn’t hit theaters until this Friday, but stars and critics got a sneak peek of the highly-anticipated film at Monday’s premiere in New York City.
The consensus? Bring tissues.
Tissues are considered such a necessity that the Wall Street Journal reports Dutton Children’s Books, publisher of the John Green novel on which the film is based, were handing out The Fault In Our Stars branded tissues at events last week.
Monday’s screening was the 11th time Green had seen the film, but even he was in for a good cry. Although his tears kicked in later, he was overcome by the emotion of the characters he created. At this viewing, he said the tears were for other reasons as well: “I don’t think I cried as much from the movie as from relief and joy from the reaction of the audience.”
Critics were quick to praise the film. The write-up in Variety was largely positive, commending the film for navigating the tough topic of The Fault In Our Stars – cancer – without slipping into exploitation territory. Variety‘s Andrew Barker has specific praise for one of the film’s young stars, Shailene Woodley:
Though her character may be 16, Woodley’s performance is thoroughly adult, and offers a reminder that, while the occasional multipart blockbuster franchise like “Divergent” can theoretically be part of a balanced diet for a young actress, she has much more to offer the cinema than an ability to run through obstacle courses while mouthing mealy mythology.
As for Woodley’s appearance at the premiere, MTV Style was quick to note the earthy actress arrived barefoot. Once on the red carpet, she complemented her yellow dress with Kurt Geiger stilettos. Shailene is known for her devotion to alternative health, making news recently for encouraging people to reconnect with the earth.
The positive reaction might come as welcome relief to producers of The Fault In Our Stars. Screenings in recent weeks had led some to speculate the film did not do justice to the book, eliminating some of its more complex themes. Some critics have disagreed, however. When the film had its cloak-and-dagger screening at the Louisiana International Film Festival last week, writer Jeff Roedel praised the movie for its handling of the subject matter:
[T]he danger is in becoming overly sappy and downtrodden, and Stars does teeter on this brink more than once, but barely escapes on its merit of solid performances and a screenplay that doesn’t talk down to its audience.
For fans of The Fault In Our Stars, that may be the minimum they would expect from the movie.