‘Paper Town’s is the breathe of fresh air you need after recent young adult book to screen adaptations like ‘Me and Earl and The Dying Girl’ and ‘The Fault in Our Stars.’ It’s the coming of age story you love to watch, without all the not so fun tears. That isn’t to say that you won’t feel a lot of feelings though.
‘Paper Towns’ is the adaptation of the young adult novel with the same name by not so famous author, John Green. I’m kidding. He’s a big deal. And was very involved in the film. He even gave the audience a personal message right before the film starts. It was sweet, as was this book adaption.
The film follows “Q” aka Quentin, played by ‘it-kid’ Nat Wolff. Fans might recognize him from Green’s adaptation of ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ which came out last year. (There’s one other surprise for Fault in Our Stars fans halfway through the movie. You’ll have to see it to find out!)
Q is very much about Margo Roth Spiegelman, played by Cara Delevingne. She is his “miracle” – a creature who is more than a girl, but an idea that has been on Q’s mind since the day she moved in next door. They were friends for a minute as kids, but her free spirit was too much for young Q to keep up with and they drifted apart. One night, with the end of high school approaching, she knocks on his window with a plan. He reluctantly goes follows on the adventure of his lifetime and even gets his heart pumping fast. It’s a new feeling for Q, a feeling in Margo’s words, he should “feel his whole life.” It’s one of those nights every young person dreams of. The one that will go down in history.
Then she’s gone. The next day Margo disappears and leaves Q with clues he thinks are meant to lead him to her. Or are they?
This movie has it all: teen romance, teen bro-mance, quirky topical references, a road trip, and more. If you’ve read the book, you know how it ends but if you haven’t I won’t spoil it for you. It’s definitely worth the watch. Delevingne does a fine job as the enigmatic Margo. She’s approachable and relatable but also a complete mystery and untouchable at the same time. It’s exactly what the character is meant to be. And Nat Wolf is proving to be a young adult star on the rise. He’s got the subtle charm that a leading man needs. He’s not so hot that he’s unapproachable but hot enough that you wonder how Margo could ever leave that face. It makes perfect sense he’s got multiple films out this year and was even in a trailer before Paper Towns played.
The supporting cast is really the heart of this film though. The loyal pals are Ben, Radar, Radar’s girlfriend, Angela and Margo’s BFF, Lacey played by Austin Abrams, Justice Smith, Jaz Sinclair and Halston Sage respectively. This zany crew really brings the comedy and heart. They give our leads perspective and ground the film in a reality that the audience can get on board with. Truth be told most of us would be one of these trusty sidekicks in the real life version of this night. The best part is, they all get their story told in a way that keeps the audience just as invested in them without taking away from the main point of the film. It’s worth going just for these four.
On that point, the lesson of the film is an important take away. People aren’t always who you think they are. It’s very easy to build a person up to be more than a person. This is especially true nowadays where celebrities are so accessible it feels like their our friends. But the truth is they’re not. At the end of the day they are just people.
Paper Towns does a great job of hitting that message home without beating us over the head with it. It’s a fine summer film worthy of your time. Although if you haven’t read the book, you might want to do that first. Paper Towns is currently in theaters.