I personally haven’t read the popular Young Adult novel The Fault in Our Stars, just released as a major motion picture, nor have I seen the film itself (cue the gasps!). Oddly enough I believe this makes the movie an even better barometer and representation of the millennial generation, since the majority of non-millennials tend to judge millennials by what they’ve heard in the media, rather than basing their opinions upon or actually interacting with members of the millennial generation.
Adapting any fan-favorite book isn’t easy. The book, written by John Green, is now the bestselling title in the UK in all formats. It has sold more than nine million copies internationally and been translated into 47 different languages.
There’s an insidious tendency to judge younger generations by the standards of one’s own. Unfortunately, millennials have not received much in the way of favorable publicity; for instance, when you search “are millennials” in Google, the search options that come up first include: “are millennials selfish”, “are millennials lazy”, and “are millennials narcissistic.”
Given all of the hype, it would be easy for the film to fall flat on its face – just like the millennial generation has the potential to do in the future from a marketing/consumer perspective after being one of the most talked about topics across global media. Fortunately, the majority of audiences agree that The Fault in Our Stars is a genuinely excellent film, with a current score of 82% on critical aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. Similarly, I am 82% positive that the millennial generation will have a successful and material impact upon our futures, both economically and socially.
The film boasts that it’s more authentic than any previous Hollywood film regarding its portrayal of young millennials and their attitudes towards life, and as often stated, millennials respond to and appreciate authenticity more than anything else.
The story is narrated by a sixteen-year-old cancer patient named Hazel, played by 22-year-old actress Shailene Woodley. Shailene Woodley is not only a millennial herself, but embodies the very definition of the term “millennial”: she is big on DIY projects, is an empowered butt-kicking female who is known to hug anyone she meets from co-stars to reporters, and is regarded as the most “authentic” actress in Hollywood today.
The title of The Economist’s recent film review of The Fault in Our Stars says it best: “Too sweet, too self absorbed.” Sound familiar?
At the other end of the spectrum, a millennial reviewer titled her review: “Tear soaked, infectiously charming and exceedingly well played.”
Only time will tell what the final review of the entire millennial generation will be written and how it will rate on the generational scale – but until then, get out the popcorn and enjoy the show!
P.S. I just purchased my seat on Fandango!