“She loved mysteries so much, that she became one.”
― John Green, Paper Towns
The movie ‘Paper Towns’, is an adaption of a young adult novel, written by John Green (of the ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ fame).
A coming-of-age story, we find the protagonist Quentin ‘Q’ Jacobsen played by Nat Wolff, a straight ‘A’ high school teenager with a silent routine life, just surviving through the crowd just so he graduates without a fuss and start a new life at college. He believes that every individual deserves a miracle, and his miracle is Margo Roth Spiegelman played by Cara Delevingne, his childhood crush. They had been strangers since an incident in their childhood until one night, where she comes through his bedroom window and ‘recruits’ him to ‘correct some wrongs’. Forced into a dilemma of spending some time with the person he loves after so long, and staying out of trouble before getting in into a reputed college, he agrees to it with a condition that no laws would be broken. As the night carries on, Margo and Q enjoy completing the set tasks together, and doing things which were a first for Q. The next day, he builds up the courage to talk to her again, to find out that she has mysteriously disappeared in the dead of the night, without any note or goodbye. Heartbroken, Q gets back to his routine. Weeks pass, and he realizes certain clues around the place and is quick to assume they’ve been left for him by her; a way for him to find her and bring her home. The rest of the movie is his journey trying to figure the mystery that Margo is, with the help of his best friends, Ben (Austin Abrams) and Radar (Justice Smith), and two other students, Lacey (Halston Sage) and Angela (Jaz Sinclair).
It’s always nice to see book characters brought to life and a new meaning derived out of the story. There will always be the never ending arguments how movies always ruin the book, but some just breathe in a new life and perspective into them. Paper Towns is one of those movies. Having read this book two years ago, it didn’t impress me as much ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ did, and I was quick to dismiss it. Now two years later, despite marathon-ing the novel for the movie, the movie mildly surprised me. Also, kudos to the fact that the movie wasn’t as complicated for non-book reading audience, unlike most book-to-screen movies these days.
Nat Wolff’s character in TFiOS was completely underappreciated, and you just knew the boy has so much potential. Luckily, this movie gave him that chance, and he was quite the perfect actor to play Q. Cara was basically absent from the major chunk of the movie, I was expecting her to be more mysterious and charismatic as Margo is, but it just didn’t work out. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a disappointment altogether. The movie had just the right amount of humor at the right places, with almost all the characters giving the audience something to laugh about. Ben most definitely takes the cake; he is quirky and fun and gives a good balance to the trio. And surprise cameos? My, what a surprise it was! Totally didn’t expect it, and it was a complete fan girl scream-worthy moment!
The movie isn’t your box-office breaking kind, it’s more like a subtle reminder and easy going one. There are things in life that you forget to appreciate and stop noticing, and you just need to remember that once in a while. You see the characters develop throughout the movie, with Q finally realizing what he really feels and not what he thinks he feels, and the story not only resonates with the teenage crowd but also with the adults who will always have the new beginnings to look forward to and where the fear of changes and getting out of your comfort zone can be a little daunting. If you’re looking for a movie with a happy ending with a bow on top, where the guy gets the girl and everything is alright, then it’s not for you. But to all those people who need a break and watch something light and not be overwhelmed by the plot, the movie is just the right one, and I hope you enjoy it!