“I’m crying.” “Dead.” “It’s perfect.” “She’s not who I pictured.” “He’s so cute.”
One might expect those kind of over-the-top reactions from fans when the first look at a superhero or other likely summer blockbuster debuts. (I mean, we all remember where we were when we first saw Heath Ledger as the Joker, right?) But today was a different kind of big summer movie: Fans got the first full-length trailer for the movie adaptation of the beloved YA book The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
Starring About-To-Be-It-Girl Shailene Woodley as well as I’m-Also-In-Divergent Ansel Elgort, the tearjerker features the duo as a couple of teens who meet in a cancer support group. While Hazel resists their relationship in fear of eventually hurting him with her death, he persists and their ensuing adventure of love and life resonated with readers of all ages. (The book is currently number one on Amazon’s bestseller list.) While the sarcastic humor and edge of the novel is one of the main reasons people have latched on so strongly to it (Read: This isn’t A Walk To Remember), the plot is quite heavy – so it was no surprise there were quite a few feelings over the 2:30 clip released this afternoon.
Let’s break it down (Light spoilers follow. Read the book. Just do it.)
We open via Woodley voiceover, with Hazel Grace lying in the grass. “I believe we have a choice in this world about how to tell sad stories,” she explains. I’m wondering if this lets us know the story is being told via flashback. Perhaps we open with Hazel by herself in her yard, and we end with Hazel by herself in her yard.
Here’s the first shot that clues viewers in that this is going to be “One sick love story,” as the tagline memorably proclaimed. Green has commented on this in the past, but I love that the studio made no attempt to hide the fact that yes, she has an oxygen tank and tubes around her face. It obviously is completely necessary for the story, but studios have changed far bigger plot points before when they’re concerned about marketing.
Augustus capturing Hazel’s heart at the Literal Heart of Jesus. Note the Jesus rug! Solid touch. Also, say hi to Patrick (Mike Birbiglia).
Is this our first An Imperial Affliction sighting? For all the teases of the trailer, the one big character we don’t see anywhere is Peter Van Houten (who will be played by Willem Dafoe). This is a smart choice on the producers’ part – it would give too much away, and it’s also an anticipated treat for fans of the book that will be great to keep hidden until actually seeing the film, much like how in the Hunger Games trailer we rarely saw much of the inside of the Arena, even though we all knew it was coming.
Isaac! Not controversial prediction: Fans are going to fall in love with him. I mean, yes, they’re going to fall in love with Elgort, too. And Woodley. And probably her parents. And heck, somebody’s going to love Van Houten. But the lighter moments of this movie Isaac is going to own (even though going blind is incredibly sad). He’s going to be the tone barometer for the whole story, and striking the right tone is going to be crucial to making this thing work. Keep an eye on him, is what I’m saying. (Pun so not intended.)
Welcome to the metaphor-heavy swingset. Leave your childhood by the slide.
I like to call this part the “Sh*! just got real” shot of the trailer as Sam from True Blood carries a werewolf his daughter to the hospital and we’re reminded, “Oh yeah, there are going to be some really devastating parts to this movie.” Maybe don’t go see this as a first date movie? It’s probably for the best if you have a solid relationship with whomever you see this thing with. Either that, or you’re going to get real close to everyone in your theater as you all sniffle into your popcorn together.
Amsterdam dinner! A.K.A. the time Elgort gets to pull a Leo and make teenage girls (and their moms) fall head over heels in love with him, thus ruining regular high school boys forever. It’s a tough job, but the way he muses about oblivion makes me think he’s up to the challenge. If only he was smoking an unlit cigarette.
As careful readers remember, while in Amsterdam Hazel and Gus get sorted into different factions, which really puts a damper on their relationship.
Hazel is doing a pretty great imitation of the average viewer at this point in the trailer. “You gave me a forever within the numbered days,” she tearfully explains. Many of Green’s most famous passages are featured in the trailer, and it’s an encouraging sign that the melodramatic language made the cut, as it heightens the romantic epic feel to the tale and is many readers’ favorite part.
Oh, no big deal. Just one of the most iconic scenes in the book: Hazel and Augustus’s big makeout at the Anne Frank House. Fun fact: Apparently they really did film in Amsterdam, so there’s an additional historical weight/something to think about. Don’t think about it too long, though, or you’ll cry again and honestly after watching this trailer 15+ times today, you’ve probably cried enough.
We all know that making out at the Anne Frank House can lead to this. Between this moment and The Spectacular Now, Shailene Woodley is really going for some kind of record in lighthearted, matter-of-fact teenage sex scenes.
Is that Hazel’s original love note (#VennDiagrams) I spy by the bed? You can also mark this as the last time in the film you’re going to be anywhere close to happy.
Egging the ex-girlfriend’s car! Remember what I said earlier about Isaac stealing/breaking your heart? Yeah, that’s happening now. It’s an encouraging sign to know his plot wasn’t left on the cutting room floor in favor of, say, more of the Amsterdam trip.
Love is real, you guys.
What did you think of the trailer? Bummed there was no America’s Next Top Model shot? When did you start crying? If “Okay? Okay” with musical accompaniment didn’t get you, you might be a monster.