Recent hit movie The Fault in Our Stars, based on John Green’s bestselling book, is in hot water after featuring one scene taking place in the Anne Frank House Museum in Amsterdam.
The story follows two teen cancer patients, Hazel and Augustus — portrayed by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. The star-crossed lovers wind up in Amsterdam to meet fictional author Peter Van Houten, played by Willem Dafoe. When the author turns out to be a bust, Hazel and Augustus decide to make the most of their trip — which has become so famous that the iconic green bench where they have a rather heartbreaking conversation has reportedly gone missing — and even share their first kiss inside the historic Anne Frank House.
If there wasn’t already enough controversy surrounding The Fault in Our Stars for its subject matter and an early tagline, many have also been calling the book and film out for the Anne Frank scene.
Henna Lucas, an English major who challenges TFIOS, writes on her Tumblr:
“Can I mention how disgusting the kiss in ANNE FRANK’S ATTIC is?… If I started making out with a guy in a holocaust museum, we would probably be kicked out, cancer or no… making out in Anne Frank’s annex is disgusting and disrespectful!! They are two very privileged caucasian Americans who have never known starvation, genocide, or physical abuse.”
Lucas also points out that people reacted very disapprovingly when Justin Bieber made a comment about Anne Frank, but not enough people are reacting properly to this scene from TFIOS.
Andrew Barker, film critic for Variety, says:
“The film may get away with using cancer to tug the heartstrings, but combining cancer and the Holocaust is at least one trigger too many.”
Still, others at NBC News point out that John Green’s book actually addresses this issue, saying in its narrative:
“‘Augustus Waters,’ I said, looking up at him, thinking that you cannot kiss anyone in the Anne Frank House, and then thinking that Anne Frank, after all, kissed someone in the Anne Frank House, and that she would probably like nothing more than for her home to have become a place where the young and irreparably broken sink into love.”
NBC News adds that Abraham H. Foxman says of the scene:
“Short of seeing it firsthand, it seems that the kissing scene in ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ in the annex of the Anne Frank House is not offensive or against who Anne Frank was… What Anne communicated in her diary was hope. She celebrated life and she celebrated hope.”
The Fault in Our Stars is the first feature film that has ever been shot at the Anne Frank house — and filming on location only took place on the first floor and in the entryway. Variety reports that three sets were built for each floor of the Anne Frank house.
What do you think? Would Anne Frank have been pleased with the couple kissing in her home? Did John Green disrespect victims and survivors of the Holocaust with The Fault in Our Stars? Let us know in the comments.
[Image via Variety]