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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

This is a strange mix between a feel good movie and a sob story.  Hazel is a 17 year old who is permantently attached to an oxygen tank.  She has metastatic thyroid cancer in her lungs, and while the experimental chemotherapy that she is taking is controling her lung tumors, she still can't breath and occasionally goes into pulmonary edema and needs to be hospitalized.  Hazel does not have friends.  She left high school long ago and got her GED, so there is no socializing there for her.  Probably a non-issue since most teens have zero interest in being reminded of their mortality, and her peer group of teenagers with a terminal illness is very small.  She meets Gus, a 19 year old who had a leg amputation for osteosarcoma, in a cancer support group and they become friends and then more than friends and then one of them dies.  You wouldn't think this would be a popular story but it is.  I don't understand why that is.

I cried through much of this movie.  I know why.  It is because I have a 20 year old son who is a childhood cancer survivor.  Yes, he is one of the lucky ones, but I suspect that I am not alone as a parent in having thought about what he would have missed if his cancer had not responded to treatment.  So I get why parents of a young woman would be so excited for her to have a love affair.  They are not sure how much time she has left, and that is heart breaking.  The more she can live life the better, that is how I would feel if I were her mother.  I am not sure if you would cry, or even like this movie if you don't have that connection, but for me it was pitch perfect in capturing many of the little things that make childhood cancer so emotionally painful.

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