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The Fault in Our Stars | 2014 | PG-13 | - 4.4.5

Two teenagers with cancer (Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort) are witty and nonconformist, and fall in love while attending their cancer support group: She carries an oxygen tank and he jokes about his prosthetic leg through a series of illnesses and adventures. Also with Willem Dafoe, Nat Wolff, Sam Trammell and Laura Dern. Directed by Josh Boone. [2:05]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - A teen boy and a teen girl kiss in the attic of the Anne Frank Museum and tourists applaud; the two teens walk to his apartment, sit on his bed and kiss again as she unbuttons his shirt to reveal his full bare chest and he takes off her T-shirt; seen from the back, she removes her bra and we see the top of her hips (his hands appear to cover her breasts and the camera cuts away) and we see the two later as the camera pans from the foot to the head of the bed, showing the teen boy's bared chest as well as the girl's bare back (sex is implied).
 A teen boy says that his girlfriend is smoking hot and in the parking lot later he kisses the teen girl several times and squeezes her breast with his hand over her shirt once. A teen boy and a teen girl bump into each other in a hallway and in a support group a little later stare at one another and smile. A teen girl kisses a teen boy on the cheek and they both say, "I love you" later. In a flashback, we see a teen girl's boyfriend sneak into her hospital room at night and hold her hand. A teen girl tries to break up with her boyfriend, but he will not accept the breakup; later she texts him to say they can be good friends and he jokingly asks why she is flirting. On a plane, a teen girl tells someone that a teen boy and she are just friends and the boy quickly says, "Look, she is, but I'm not." A teen boy tells a teen girl that he is a virgin; he draws a picture of the circle of virgins with only himself inside it and she laughs.
 A teen girl watches movies featuring brief scenes of a man and a woman kissing or sitting in separate bathtubs filled with bubbles and talking on the phone (only their arms show). A teen boy wears a sleeveless T-shirt and in one scene, the teen boy wears mid-thigh shorts that reveal one bare leg and one prosthetic leg with a plastic thigh and metal lower leg. A woman walks out of a bathroom wearing a large towel and we see her bare shoulders. A woman wears slim jeans and high-heeled boots that accentuate the curves of her legs. A woman wears a short dress.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A teen girl sits on an examining table as a long needle with an injection is plunged deep into her upper bicep and she does not react. In another scene, a teen girl lies curled in a fetal position on a gurney. A teen girl lifts bed covers slightly to show a tube taped to her hip and side, extending upwards (we hear that doctors inserted the tube into her chest to drain fluids). Two flashbacks show a teen girl bald and in a hospital bed while her parents cry and her mother tells her it is all right to let go and die. Two scenes show a teen girl placed into an MRI machine after having a long needle injecting something into her thyroid area.
 A teen boy calls a teen girl at night from a gas station and begs for help; she drives there and finds him unable to move from his driver's seat and when he raises his shirt we see a large red infected area around a chemotherapy port; he cries and coughs up yellow and red phlegm as she calls 911 and EMTs load him into an ambulance with flashing lights (we do not see him as a patient, but when he comes home, he needs a wheelchair and the girl pushes him in it in a few scenes).
 A 16-year old girl carries an oxygen tank with her, with an oxygen line clipped under her nostrils and we hear that she had thyroid cancer at age 13 that spread to her lungs; we see bouts of pneumonia causing her to cough violently at home and in hospital beds at ages 13 and 16, where larger oxygen lines and oxygen masks sit across her nostrils. A teen girl with an oxygen tank climbs long flights of stairs and rests while sitting on a step twice; she climbs a ladder with her tank on her back and at the top, looks pale and woozy, sitting on the floor for a few minutes.
 A blind teen boy tells two friends that his girlfriend broke up with him before he had surgery to remove his one functioning eye; he cries while playing a shooting-type video game and a male friend hands him basketball trophies to break and the blind boy begins breaking a dozen trophies on the floor and against a wall while he shouts; the friend says, "Pain demands to be felt" and the blind boy punches a pillow several times and shouts into the pillow while he holds it over his face.
 A teen boy and a teen girl meet an author at his house where the entrance hallway is cluttered with piles of mail on the floor and the author is rude to the couple and calls them "sick kids wanting pity" and "experimental mutations," and then asks the boy if he has cancer in the brain; the girl shouts angrily at the author, calls him a drunk and slaps a glass out of his hand, breaking it on the floor before leaving the house.
 Late at night, a phone rings startling a teen girl at home and her parents enter her bedroom to tell her that a teen boy died and we hear that he struggled breathing several times and his heart stopped. An 18-year old ex-basketball player is in remission from his osteosarcoma, but had lost one leg from the knee, down; we see the artificial limb several times and once the boy shows it to a man and says, "I didn't have this (leg) removed for the hell of it." A teen boy tells his support group that he lost one eye to cancer and needs surgery to remove the other eye. A teen girl stands and says to a cancer support group that they all will die, the human race and the planet will eventually cease to exist and oblivion is certain in the end. A teen boy tells a teen girl his cancer has returned and spread and that he will die soon; they become tearful as the scene ends. A teen girl argues loudly with her parents and insists they say that she will die, not "if she dies." A teen girl and her boyfriend argue loudly about death and about whether it is important for the whole world to remember anyone. An author gets into a car with a teen girl driver who has cancer and she shouts at him several times until he finally leaves after telling her that his own daughter died from cancer at age eight. A teen boy and a teen girl each tell the other how they purchased a suit or dress in which to be buried and they ask each other to write eulogies. A teen boy asks a teen girl and his best male friend to come to a church and read eulogies they wrote about him while he sits in a wheelchair and says that he wanted to attend his own funeral, but did not know if he could really come back as a ghost; all three teens become tearful while sharing memories. A teen girl tells a teen boy she meets that he is new to her and may be an axe murderer. A teen girl is obsessed with a novel about cancer death. A teen boy reads a novel about cancer death and a teen girl reads a novelization of a teen boy's favorite video game about sci-fi heroes using laser guns. At a hospital and later at a graveside funeral for a teen boy, men and women cry.
 Video clips of WWII German wagons filled with dead bodies under tarps play in a display (we see some feet) in the Anne Frank House museum.
 A teen girl sits on a couch with two bottles of prescription meds on a table next to her while her voiceover says that depression comes from dying and in a doctor's office, a physician says that she will prescribe the girl Zoloft (please see the Substance Use category for more details).
 Two teen boys and a teen girl buy two dozen eggs to throw at a mean girl's expensive sports car; at the mean girl's house, the second boy (who is blind) tosses a practice shot and then throws egg after egg that break onto the car. A teen boy on his first airplane ride shakes and looks scared until he is in the air. A teen boy takes a teen girl for a car ride and knocks over some large plastic trashcans and screeches his brakes once. A teen boy and a teen girl go to his house where they meet his parents and descend some stairs that make her breathe heavily and on the wall is a sign with silhouettes of a cow and a car hitting head-on.
 A teenage girl brushes her teeth (she does not spit and we see no toothpaste).


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LANGUAGE 5 - At least 1 F-word, 8 scatological terms, 5 anatomical terms, 15 mild obscenities, name-calling (weird, crazy, loser, failure, monster, mean, evil, sick kids, drunk, douche-pants, stupid), stereotypical references to physicians, teenagers, children with cancer, parents, support group leaders, Americans, Christians, temperamental authors, alcoholics, fickle girlfriends, virgins, exclamations (Oh gosh), 2 religious profanities (GD), 27 religious exclamations (e.g. In Jesus' name amen, Oh my God, Oh God, God, Godspeed, Jesus Christ is your friend, In the heart of Jesus).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A teen girl asks her parents for a fake ID so that she can "buy a gimlet and take pot" and they laugh, a teen girl with cancer takes eight prescription drugs three times per day and we see her swallow pills twice with water, and a physician says that she will prescribe Zoloft for a teen girl with cancer. A teen boy and a teen girl drink champagne at a restaurant, a teen boy and a teen girl drink champagne on a picnic, we see glasses of wine on several tables in a restaurant and we see two men drink from their glasses, a man drinks Scotch and soda and two bottles of Scotch are seen on his mantle, and a man drinks from a flask of alcohol twice at a graveside funeral. An 18-year-old boy carries an unlit cigarette in his mouth in several scenes while visiting friends and at home as well as while driving and riding in a car and standing on a sidewalk and on an airplane (a flight attendant on the plane makes him put the cigarette away), a young man says that the cigarette he carries in his mouth is a metaphor for taking the deadly things into your teeth and not letting them harm you, a teen girl takes a cigarette from a teen boy's mouth and places it between her teeth, and a teen girl wears a T-shirt with a picture of a tobacco pipe on it.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Childhood cancer, chemotherapy, cancer surgeries, drug trials, blindness, prosthetics, support groups, teenage life, family, friends, relationships, love, alcoholism, funerals, being remembered after death.

MESSAGE - Terminal cancer does not rule out living an interesting life.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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