Story

The Fault in Our Stars tells the unconventional love story of Hazel (Shalene Woodley) and Augustus (Ansel Elgort), two witty teenagers who meet and fall in love at a cancer support group.

Hazel and Augustus share a journey that takes them beyond their illness and allows them both to believe in and experience their own ‘forever after’. A chance opportunity arises for the couple to meet Hazel’s favourite author, Peter Van Houten (William Dafoe). Hazel feels that Van Houten’s novel about a girl living with terminal cancer truly understands and represents the experience. Hazel and Augustus travel to Amsterdam to meet their hero.

Themes

Terminal illness and death in children and teenagers

Violence

The Fault in Our Stars has some violence. For example:

  • Augustus encourages his best friend to feel his heart break after being dumped by his girlfriend. Augustus gets his friend to throw and break his basketball trophies against a wall.
  • Hazel, Augustus and their friend throw eggs at a girl’s car.
  • One scene shows a video game with an army scene. The characters in the game shoot at each other with guns.
  • There is brief footage of Nazi Germany.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

Children in this age group are likely to be scared by the violence described above. 

From 5-8

The Fault in Our Stars has several scenes that show extremely ill or dying children and teenagers. These scenes are likely to be disturbing for children of this age and older. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by scenes that show children and teenagers sick and dying. 

Over 13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by scenes that show children and teenagers sick and dying. 

Sexual references

The Fault in Our Stars has some sexual references. For example, Augustus talks about being a virgin. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

The Fault in Our Stars shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Augustus holds an unlit cigarette in his mouth as a metaphor for his fight against cancer. He doesn’t smoke it and talks about the negative implications of the cigarette.
  • Hazel and Augustus share a bottle of champagne over dinner and also drink in another scene at a picnic. They’re not shown as drunk.
  • A man is shown as an alcoholic and drinks scotch at inappropriate times – at breakfast and at a funeral, for example.
  • Hazel talks about being a teenager and says that she should be ‘taking pot’. 

Nudity and sexual activity

The Fault in Our Stars has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Many scenes show teenagers kissing passionately, including one where a teenager grabs a girl’s breast while they’re kissing.
  • There is one scene in which Hazel and Augustus have sex. Augustus is seen naked from the waist, and Hazel’s torso is also naked but seen from behind. 

Product placement

The Fault in Our Stars shows the following products: Sunglass Hut; Honda; Converse shoes; Top Model television show; Apple computers and iPhones; Phillips; American Airlines; Mercedes cars; and BP. 

Coarse language

The Fault in Our Stars has some coarse language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Fault in Our Stars is a very sad but inspiring love story based on a popular young adult novel.

Because of its disturbing themes of terminal illness and death, it isn’t recommended for children under 14-15 years. Even some 14-year-olds might find it disturbing, so we recommend parental guidance for all children under 15 years. If you have younger teenagers who want to see the movie, you might also be concerned by the coarse language and a sex scene.

The main message from this movie is that we should seize the day and live life to the full despite obstacles.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include determination, loyalty, friendship and love.

You could also talk with your children about:

  • how grief and loss affects families and relationships
  • how a young person dying of cancer can find fulfilment.