The film of John Green’s bestseller is guaranteed to end in tears. After all, it’s about two teenagers stricken with cancer. But what kind of tears? Will we come to admire and empathise with its two leads or will we leave the cinema queasily convinced we’ve been manipulated into feeling for them because they’re sick?
It’s the kind of question that British film-makers tend to handle more easily than their American counterparts. Steeped in the traditions of social realism, they’re experienced straight-talkers, adept at the art of undercutting candour with understatement and bitterness with gallows humour.