Critic’s Pick:  Shailene Woodley shines in ‘The Fault in Our Stars’

“The Fault in Our Stars”
Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort star in “The Fault in Our Stars.”
(James Bridges, 20th Century Fox)

Shailene Woodley is the reason to put “The Fault in Our Stars” on your “should-see” list if it’s not already there. The film has other reasons to recommend it: The smarter-than-usual take on teenage life. The way director Josh Boone keeps novelist John Green’s premise about love and kids with cancer from turning maudlin or schmaltzy. The other actors, including her charismatic co-star Ansel Elgort. But Woodley is the big-red-underline-it reason to make time. The 22-year-old knocked around for a few years in smaller TV and film roles before her breakouts: On TV in the ABC Family drama series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” which had a five-season run beginning in 2008; in film playing a rebellious teen in 2011 opposite George Clooney’s dad in “The Descendants.” The actress is one of a new generation of actors relying on, gulp, talent to make their mark. A few months ago, Woodley showed she could carry a blockbuster in “Divergent.” When it comes to indie fare, the actress makes good choices, for one, 2013’s “The Spectacular Now.” Woodley is, as they say, the real deal, someone with real staying power. And she has never been real-er than in “The Fault in Our Stars.”