life

Just okay: Reviewing The Fault in Our Stars

 

Director: Josh Boone
Screenplay: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Natt Wolf, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Willem Dafoe, Lotte Verbeek

(WARNING: Some spoilers ahead. Tread with caution if you haven’t read the book or watched the movie.)

The book was better than the movie.

There! I’ve said it. Don’t hate me.

The Fault In Our Stars, adapted from a novel written by John Green, follows the story of cancer-stricken teenager, Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley). She meets a cancer survivor, Augustus Waters, in a support group her parents forced her to attend because she is “depressed.” They fall in love in that way that will make you fall in love with them as well; the threats to their beautiful existence being cancer and the death it may bring, particularly in Hazel’s case, considering that she was very sick at the time, and Augustus was in remission. However, after amazing things have happened, Augustus tells Hazel that his PET scan “lit up like a Christmas tree,” this being the twist to the entire plot. It was Augustus who was dying, after all.

picnic

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More than just two kissing cowboys: Reviewing Brokeback Mountain

Here at MNL Film Club, we review movies past and present. We’ll try to give you the coolest throwbacks since Doc Brown, on monthly thematic dosages. This February, we give you the Most Romantic Movies of the Past Decade. We took this matter seriously, and rest assured, the team argued gruellingly (nevertheless, no MNL Film Club writer was harmed in the writing of this piece) to present four of the most noteworthy romantic movies of the 2000s.

This, of course, begged the question: what is romance? The delineation between this genre and those others more popularly consumed is blurry and undefined. We took the high road and put it simply as that which features love. More importantly, romance is an exploration of love; it captures love at its most picturesque moments, and it exposes the ugly undersides of its aftermaths. An example of which is the tragically beautiful (or beautifully tragic) love story of two cowboys chronicled in Brokeback Mountain.

Director: Ang Lee
Screenplay: Larry McMurty Diana Ossana
Cinematography: Rodrigo Prieto
Cast: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway

TRUTH: The idea of one full-length film about the love story of two gay (closeted) cowboys did not sound possible until Brokeback Mountain came out in 2005.

The movie tells the story of two cowboys, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist (played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, respectively) who were brought together to herd sheep in an isolated part of Wyoming for a certain period of time. The two (who were presumably “straight” at the start of the film) eventually developed a relationship which began from, yup, you guessed it right: sex. After finishing their job, the two separated and went on with their lives. But it seems that true love won’t be stopped as the two found a way to continue with their clandestine rendezvous and dalliance despite having their own families. The cowboys faced a lot of problems throughout the course of the story but none is as devastating as when Ennis found out that Jack was brutally murdered and must, therefore, endure the pain of losing his one true love.

As far as romantic queer films are concerned, Brokeback Mountain is close to perfection precisely because it isn’t a half-baked movie filled with gratuitous sex scenes that do nothing but to perpetuate cringe-inducing gay stereotypes and movie tropes.

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