It’s Time To Talk About The Fault In Our Stars Make Out Session In The Anne Frank House

park bench first kiss the fault in our stars hazel augustus


The Fault In Our Stars movie is an insult to the book. They took an incredibly funny and moving story about two lovestruck kids dying from cancer and turned it into a tweenage cryfest. And yes, I cried. But only because I’m human and people dying from cancer gives me the sads. Not because I cared at all about Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus (Ansel Elgort). Unlike the book, the movie does make turn the whole thing into a weepy cancer tale. Which is most definitely sad, but also most definitely not the story that I fell in love with. Nothing made this more obvious than the scene in the Anne Frank house.

I know what you’re thinking, what scene in the Anne Frank house? Isn’t this a romance? Well let me tell you, so you can fully be offended. Or just dumbstruck at what a stupid idea this was to include in the movie. Now, in the movie’s defense, this scene does take place in the book. But it was so inconsequential there that I didn’t even remember it. Whereas in the movie it’s a hundred thousand minute plot point that really stands out.

The scene takes place in Amsterdam after Hazel and Gus meet the disgruntled author, Van Houten (Williem Dafoe). Because Van H was such a massive douchebag, his assistant takes pity on the sick kids and offers to show them around town. Because they’re in Amsterdam, they end up at the Anne Frank House. Which is fine, because it is a huge tourist attraction for people in Amsterdam. What’s not fine is what follows.

Hazel’s cancer prevents her from being able to do a lot of physical activity. But her spirit prevents her from saying no to an opportunity. Therefore she insists on climbing all four flights of stairs in the museum. It’s a grueling process for her, as well as for us to watch. Call me an asshole, but by the second staircase, we getit. This part isn’t offensive, just completely unnecessary — and completely untrue to a book that emphasized Hazel over her struggle with cancer.

They finally get to the secret annex where the Franks lived during the Holocaust. We listen to Anne Frank quotes and are forced to make the connection between her suffering and Hazel’s suffering. They’re both young women being robbed of a future because of things out of their control. I mean, I get it. I do. I see what they’re trying to say. But rather than thinking about their similarities, I’m instead stuck on the fact that this movie’s actually asking me to compare the hardships of a girl dying from cancer to a girl dying because of genocide. Obviously both are horrible, there’s no good way to die young. However that doesn’t mean we should lump all young victims together.

After hearing Anne Frank’s words, Hazel realizes that she’s young and she’s fortunate to still be alive and she needs to take advantage of her time left. So right in the middle of the secret annex, she grabs Gus and kisses him. And keeps kissing him. And before you know it, they’re making out in the Anne Frank House. Just locking lips in the same place where a Jewish family hid from the Nazis. The same place where a Jewish family got discovered and sent to their deaths. What makes this even worse is that the other tourists on the Anne Frank Tour of Teenage Romance clap for the couple as they kiss. Call me a cynic, but I don’t think tourists in the Anne Frank house would clap for kisses. You know, because talking about the Holocaust usually doesn’t put people in the best mood.

Why no one making this movie thought to change this scene up a bit boggles my mind. It’s based on such a great book that it makes no sense to ruin it by exploiting the memory of a real live girl who was murdered for being Jewish. Then again, maybe we should give props to the movie makers for finding a way to make a tearjerker about two teens dying of cancer even more depressing.

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    • Alana Vincenza

      This didn’t make much sense in the book either. Like, I get the motivation. But tbh, I’ve been to the Anne Frank Haus and the steps really are that terrible but more importantly, no one would clap in there. People barely whispered and gave dirty looks to anyone who spoke at a regular volume. So yeah, this doesn’t really work for me at all.

      • Jenni

        Yeah, I’ve never been there, but I’ve been to similar enough places that I’m pretty sure I know the vibe…and it’s not “HORNY TEENZ 4EVA”

      • Beem

        All this talk is just more evidence of an idea I’ve entertained: the mainstream media seems to prefer discussing the Jewishness of dead Jews to current living ones (like Ansel Elgort or Nat Wolff, partially), unless they’re “comedic Jews” or something. They sure don’t like talking about interesting tidbits like that Ansel’s grandmother saved many Jewish children and was imprisoned at a concentration camp, herself, or that Natalie Portman’s grandmother spied for the British during WWII, or that Logan Lerman’s still-living grandfather, of the same generation and birthplace as Anne Frank, narrowly avoided the same fate (a fact that has literally never been printed in the msmedia).

        This is of course true of fiction films, too, since the only teenage characters who are allowed to be explicitly Jewish in mainstream films are:

        1. Holocaust victims (like in The Book Thief or Defiance)

        2a. Creepy-looking sex-obsessed perverts (like in Project X)

        2b. Fat, creepy-looking sex-obsessed perverts (see Project X again, which helpfully features both types)

        Anyone that doesn’t fit the above criteria need not apply.

      • Jenni

        As a Jew who’s always very aware (and excited!) when I see Jewish characters in movies, I have to somewhat disagree with you. Not because I see a plethora of Jews teens in movies, but because movie teens rarely talk about their religion. In most teen movies, it would seem out of place if a character was like, “I would love to go to that house party, but Shabbat….”

      • Beem

        You would be right in theory. But lines like the ones you mentioned are used all the time. Check out the aforementioned Project X (lines like “I’m sorry I called you fat at your Bar Mitzvah”, “13 is when I became a man in my culture”, and calling his lawyer “that Jew”). Or the recent movie Neighbors, where almost every single cast member was of Jewish heritage, but the only explicit Jew was Rogen (courtesy of the line “you Jews and your f–cking mothers”, stated by Rose Byrne’s character to Rogen’s).

      • jh

        Is that why this movie about dying does not have a faith dimension to it?

      • SunnyD847

        Plus it was really packed when I was there. You’re just shuffling thorough like cattle. Not all all conducive to a make out session.

    • Cassandra Hough

      I have been on the Anne Frank Tour Of Unspeakable Sadness And Silent Reflection, but I definitely wasn’t aroused enough by it so maybe I should try the Anne Frank Tour Of Teenage Romance instead?

      Seriously though, ugh. I’m like, dreading this now.

      • Jenni

        Oh yes! This one comes with free selfies and an Urban Outfitters gift card.

      • Cassandra Hough

        Ha! I had to eat at least 3 “special” muffins and brownies just to alleviate the post-tour despair slightly. I already hate that this part of the movie is a thing that happened.

      • Jenni

        I would’ve preferred it if they went to the “special” muffins and brownies route. Still very Amsterdam! But so much less offensiveness!

    • Nbl

      As a Jew and related to someone directly affected by the Holocaust (My grandmother lost both her sisters and their young children at Triblinka) I’m a little torn. I’m super sensitive to the recent celebrity “scandals” involved with the Anne Frank house but I’m also a huge fan of John Green. If you have ever watched his YouTube series “Crash Course” you would know that he is very vocal about his hate of discrimination (blacks, Jews, women, Native Americans, etc). I haven’t seen the movie yet but I think he was very much aware of how he used Anne Frank in the novel and there was a lot of thought behind it. From what I gather, the movie version doesn’t translate. Is that right, Alexis? Any way, I’ll suspend judgment until I’ve seen the film. Which won’t be for a while because I don’t like crying in public.

      On another note, today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Did anyone see the piece about the 80 something British man who parachuted down on Normandy today? The last time he did that was 1944. It’s so sad that the men and women who lived through this are dying off. My fiancé and I were talking about it and he can’t even imagine the strength and courage it took for those men to storm the beaches. And he’s been deployed to Afghanistan twice. If you know someone that served in WWII, please take the time to talk to them about it. My biggest regret is not doing so with my grandfather before he passed.

    • corastacy

      They really could have benefitted from bringing back that selective internal monologue they used at the beginning of the movie during this scene. The reason this looks worse on film than it did in the book is because you don’t get to hear Hazel freaking out in her head about how the whole thing is kind of wrong.

      • Jenni

        There are a few parts in the movie where I missed Hazel’s inner monologue. It’s been so long since I loved a really good book and seen it brought to the movies, that I forgot how much it sucks when they take out inner monologues.

      • corastacy

        The thing is, it’s not like they took it out of the movie as a whole. They start with it and end with it… but in the middle it’s like they forget they could use it.

        Problematic moments aside, I still think it’s one of the better book to movie adaptations out there. And I REALLY want it to kick Edge of Tomorrow’s ass at the box office :)

    • bw

      As a fellow reader of the book I’m surprised that you didn’t remember this scene, because if it goes down in the movie as you described, that’s what happened in the book. The rest of the guests clapped for the couple. Also in the book part of Hazel’s internal monologue was that “Anne Frank kissed someone in the Anne Frank house.” The whole episode is meant to point to the works larger theme of “enjoying the small infinity,” and “not treating the sick as the other.” By drawing the comparison to Anne Frank it’s not trying to equate cancer and genocide, but instead challenge us to imagine a person as something other than “living ghost” because of their circumstances. It reminds me of the few journal entries that were removed from the diary because Anne Frank was discussing her feelings about sex, and these were not included in the version we all read in middle school. So instead we are presented with a somewhat censored and deified depiction of a girl who was just using her diary to work out how she felt about her life, and in doing so gave great insight. Having empathy for someone’s circumstances also includes not turning someone into a saint, but treating them an individual whom you respect.

      • MCR

        Interesting comment. It’s true that Anne Frank herself made out with her young boyfriend in the rooms from which she and the others were taken to their deaths. It was included in the version of her diary that I read as a girl.

      • Jenni

        I felt so many emotions all at once when I read it that I definitely forgot parts! And clearly this one didn’t read as offensively to me in the book. But there’s a lot that I think got lost in translation. Specifically Gus. In the book, he came across as much more likable. In the movie, he’s just another cocky good-looking teen.

      • kitt

        Yes, yes, yes. That’s what didn’t work for me at all. Augustus was so effing smug and pretentious. I did not like him at all in the film. I felt sad for him and his family when he died, but I just did not find him likable.

    • wonderstruck

      Disclaimer: I haven’t actually seen the move yet, but maybe you should re-read the book, because that was exactly how it happened – personally, it felt like a strange scene to me in the book as well. But I really don’t see how they could have chosen to NOT include it in the movie considering that it was their first kiss.

      • Jenni

        While it might’ve worked in the book (which it obvi did, because I breezed right through it), it did not in the movie. They changed enough stuff in the movie that I think they could’ve moved the kiss somewhere else. At least out of the annex.

    • lainey

      It was tacky in the book and just as tacky in the movie. What’s disturbing is that now young girls will be visiting the Anne Frank house and making out with their boyfriends just to recreate the scene from the movie. You just know that’s gonna happen. Watch out for those pics on Instagram!

      • Jenni

        I really hope you’re wrong. But I’m so very scared that you’re right. Ugh.