The Evidence in Fiction
Since The Hunger Games, I’ve made it a rule to read the book before the movie adaptation whenever possible/feasible. That means sometimes I’ll have to wait several weeks before seeing a film everyone on my news feed has already seen… twice. But I get a much better appreciation for the book and the film knowing how certain scenes play out, how the context of the dialogue changes, and overall how the movie is different from the book.
Although I end up spending about half my time thinking, “Okay, wait that scene was before that event and that line is actually out of context right now,” and then I end up missing about half the film because I can’t shut off my brain long enough to get engrossed in its cinematic goodness.
And that’s what happened when I saw The Fault In Our Stars.
I knew a little about the story via Tumblr and context clues, but I finally gave into the fandom and did some research about the movie and book. I decided that I was going to wait until after I read It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, but my curiosity and impatience grew larger than me so I grabbed a paperback copy of TFIOS and started it about two weeks before the film came out.
Here’s the thing to know about me: I have a bad habit of starting books and then not finishing them for months, and sometimes years, at a time. I started Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in late 2011 and finished it in early 2013. I’m not a slow reader, either; I’m in the middle of the road for speed-reading. I wanted to break that habit with TFIOS. I did for the most part, however, I did accidentally spoil the ending for myself (stupid press tours and gif sets floating around on Tumblr), so I knew what happened, but I wanted to know how and why the events unfolded the way they did.
I had to know, damn it!
So, I pressed forward and over the course of three weeks and two long reading sessions, I finished it and rushed to the local Regal to sit and watch the film. After realizing that I was probably going to be the only single guy there, I moved my seat from the ever-growing group of hormonal teenagers and down to the front section of the theater away from everyone else. My neck may have suffered, but at least my attention didn’t. As the movie graced the screen, we sat there in silence watching the lives of characters we already knew about play out in front of us and wait for the inevitable heartbreak that comes John Green’s heart wrenching tale.
And I didn’t cry.
For weeks all I’ve heard is how emotionally devastating this film is and how it makes grown men weep like sad orphaned puppies at its conclusion, but I didn’t shed one tear. Not one damn tear. And I tried, too. The only time I got close to crying was when Hazel was retelling the moments before her miracle and we saw her mother’s trembling face amidst the fog of death, but that’s as close as I came to crying and even that was barely a tear.
Maybe it’s because I knew how it ended or how I accidentally spoiled it for myself or maybe I’m more emphatically disconnected than I thought, but walking out of that theater, hearing two middle-aged women exclaim how much that sucked, I couldn’t help but reluctantly agree.
Don’t misunderstand: it’s a great film and an endearing love story, but the hype around it and everyone raving about how many packets of tissues they used at the end ruined it for me, further proof that people need to stop posting their emotions and feelings on social media so I can enjoy a damn romantic movie by myself… that came out wrong, but I don’t care.