I promise I’m not a monster.
I have a feeling I’ll be saying that quite a bit over the next few weeks, as more and more people confide, “Oh my God. I cried five or six times during The Fault in Our Stars!” or “I sobbed through the entire final act” or, as a midnight text from my sister declared, “I want to watch TFIOS again, but not right now because I have a headache from crying so much.”
I nodded along when people spilled to me, because it was a very sad movie; one that I quite enjoyed as well. But I’m a bit nervous to admit the truth: I didn’t cry once. Not even close. Not even a little bit. Not even at all. And with Twitter and Tumblr seemingly becoming Countdowns to Feelings all week long, and people talking about how they’re flat-out excited to let the waterworks run as part of a communal experience in theaters, I’m afraid I’m close to alone.
It’s not that I didn’t find the film affecting. Laura Dern broke my heart as Hazel’s mom, and Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort were charming as all get out whether they were discussing their fears or flirting their way through Amsterdam. When Gus gave his heartbreaking revelation, it felt like a punch to the gut. But while people next to me in our theater worked their way through multiple tissues, I kept my eyes locked on the screen, silently willing myself to tear up so that the co-workers accompanying me to the screening would know I’m not dead inside. Didn’t happen.
Once I got through Hazel’s Literal Heart of Jesus speech to Gus with a feeling of overwhelming sadness but cheeks drier than Hazel’s wit, I knew more drastic measures had to be taken. So I took a lesson from Gus and performed: I dabbed at my dry eyes and whispered, “This is killing me,” as a friend next to me nodded in sympathy.
Am I alone here? Are you pre-ordering boxes of Fault in Our Stars-themed tissues? This is a safe space, so I need to know: How many times did you cry?