Have you ever tried crying surreptitiously on an airplane? It’s a very strange experience, perhaps doubly so as a man when so much of our society puts a premium on men “being strong” (crying in public is a definite no-no). I was always a bit weepy as a child, particularly where movies were concerned, and as a boy I was teased mercilessly for it. I worked hard on suppressing that behavior, until I got to the point where almost nothing could make me cry; eventually, someone who was well and truly pissed with me called me “Ice man” for my lack of affect or reaction (not in a kind way, nor as a reference to young Val Kilmer… which might have been kind?). I’ve definitely reached a happier emotionally demonstrative balance, but this balance has given me the questionable pleasure of feeling awkward, wiping away my tears while the woman sitting next to me (watching the same movie) was completely dry-eyed. Oh well. All of which was a round-about way of saying that The Fault In Our Stars (the movie, not the book which I haven’t yet read) made me cry.
The movie (and presumably the book) is about a teenaged woman who has survived a bout with cancer and come out with less than half the lung capacity she should have, the specter of cancer returning in the near future, and a tendency for her lungs to occasionally fill with fluid without warning. She’s understandably less than enthused with life around her. The story, however, focuses on her budding relationship with a boy who is also a cancer survivor, one who has escaped mostly unscathed. Mostly.
Ok, look, I don’t want to spoil anything more for those of you who hate spoilers. I’ll leave that for after the break. Suffice to say, if you have loved ones who’ve gone through cancer (or died to cancer, or saw their loved ones go through cancer), you might find this movie a bit emotional. There are other reasons for it to be both good and sad, like watching teenagers trying to deal with imminent mortality, but I invite you to find out on your own. And as I mentioned above, maybe it will do nothing for you. The lady sitting next to me certainly didn’t seem very effected.