It started out as a simple cough, nothing more. The advice given was to push fluids and rest. The cough got deeper, sounding as if it was trying to peel layers of lung up like faded paint chips. Everything that tried to suppress it only seemed to make it stronger. The color of their skin began to fade into the atmosphere around them and their facial expressions softened. Those little creases at the edges of their mouth got shallower and shallower as the eyes sunk further back into their skull. Besides hearing about it in the news, I have heard about people in a relationship who leave it when their significant other becomes ill. It is hard to imagine anything lower in a human being in my opinion. To love someone for life comes with a lot of responsibilities, it takes work; but the rewards enrich and color our experiences with added shades of hues from the palette of life. Unconditional means not subject to any conditions. The only way I know how to love someone is unconditionally. In this romantic drama decide for yourself if the love you see was an unconditional one. Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now, Divergent) played Hazel, a teenager whose only close friend was an oxygen tank due to her illness. Wanting to just live an ordinary life, Hazel felt stuck in a support group where she met Gus, played by Ansel Elgort (Divergent, Carrie). Her with her tank and him with his prosthetic leg, they made an odd couple. The major reason this film worked was the chemistry between Shailene and Ansel. Having played brother and sister in their recent movie Divergent, they were outstanding; I believed every word uttered by the two of them. What accentuated their roles was having Laura Dern (Wild at Heart, Tenderness) and Sam Trammell (Autumn in New York, True Blood-TV) play Hazel’s parents Frannie and Michael. Only recently being aware of the acting from Nat Wolf, he was quite good as Gus’ best friend Isaac. There was no getting around the fact the story was a tearjerker. I have not read the book but part of the script seemed to have an extra layer of melodrama, some of it predictable. On the other hand if you know how I rate the films I review, this movie allowed me to enter into the lives of Hazel and Gus, leaving my life behind. I cried like everyone else in the theater and despite my few minor gripes, I loved this film unconditionally.
3 1/2 stars
Without some type of support system in place one can begin listening to their inner voice with doubtful ears. I am quite familiar with doubt; if left unchecked, it is an invasive weed that chokes the bloom off of my ideas. If I did not have supportive friends and family in place I do not think I would have had the courage to publicly post my movie reviews. Prior to starting my website I would email individual people my thoughts on a film. From my 1st public review to current ones I can see a big difference in the way I write them. I now find the earlier ones to be sterile and impersonal, none of my feelings were blended into the words. The evolution of my writing took place thanks to the positive responses I have received from so many different people. A kind word is one of the best ways to stop the spread of doubt. I thought the concept for this comedic drama was a wonderful idea. Any single parent could use a supportive group of individuals around them and I was curious to see how writer/director Tyler Perry (The Family That Preys, Madea franchise) would handle the situation. The answer would be with a heavy hand and humor at the lowest level on the comedy scale. I was actually surprised on how bad this film was on so many levels. It followed such a formula that I cannot imagine much time was devoted in the making of this picture. Let us start with individuals from multiple ethnic groups so the movie could attract a wide audience, check this off the list. Next make sure you have moms from a low to high economic status so we could see how poor and wealthy people have the same problems. Now throw in male characters as some type of love or former love interest so we could observe the challenges a single mom has when it comes to relationships and there you have it: a boring, lackluster, trite and lazy movie. I felt sad for the cast that included Nia Long (The Best Man Holiday, Boiler Room) as May, Wendi McLendon (Bridesmaids, Rules of Engagement-TV) as Jan and Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect, Crank franchise) as Hilary. After sitting through this movie, where the best part was the outtakes during the ending credits, if I could have found a support group for traumatized film goers of poor quality films I would have signed up.
1 1/2 stars