CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
Film Review: Tearjerking ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ is ‘The Notebook’ of This Decade
CHICAGO – Sure, I’ll admit it. With so many new films to screen and review, I’ll choose the sci-fi action/thriller from the man behind the Bourne flicks over a movie that’s being called “the greatest romance story of this decade”.
But when realizing I only have time this week to write “The Fault in Our Stars” or “Edge of Tomorrow,” the choice – albeit unusual for me because of my love for sci-fi – comes quickly without thinking twice. While comparing them is like apples and orange, the first won’t stand the test of time while the latter with stay with you for years to come.
My interest in “The Fault in Our Stars” wasn’t typical. It was piqued while interviewing co-stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort at the Chicago red-carpet premiere not for this romantic drama with a $12 million budget but for the blockbuster “Divergent” with an $85 million budget.
I recall Shailene being soft spoken and even shy in my interview. While being required to talk about “Divergent” and the healthy paycheck she’s getting from that series, she was clearly more fired up by discussing the upcoming smaller movie that she’d star in just 3 months later. Though the 23-year-old Shailene already had more star power because of her breakout role in “The Descendents,” speaking to the 20-year-old Ansel was a different experience.
He struck me as raw, humble talent who is still sponging in the fact that he’s just now getting famous. “The Fault in Our Stars” will put him over the top to women and men everywhere as it’ll be his breakout role as the film’s male romantic lead. It’s impossible not to compare him to Ryan Gosling’s effectiveness in 2004’s romantic gem “The Notebook” with Rachel McAdams.
|Read Adam Fendelman’s full review of “The Fault in Our Stars”.|
While women get stereotyped as being more attracted to the “chick flick” than guys, “The Notebook” was the rarity that bridged both genders. It brought them together by choice rather than force. While “The Notebook” was the romantic star of the last decade, this has rarely happened since. Good try, “The Vow” and “About Time,” but pretty much no guy wanted to see Hollywood’s romance star in those unless their girlfriends bribed them.
“The Fault in Our Stars” returns us to the magic gender-crushing ingredients in “The Notebook”. It figures out how to do what so many other romance films fail to: put a guy and a girl together and actually release in them natural, real chemistry instead of artificially forcing them to feel it. When they fake it, audiences know it and don’t fall in love when they try to for a couple hours.
Photo credit: James Bridges, 20th Century Fox