Quentin “Q” Jacobsen lives next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman, his childhood friend from whom he has since drifted, but still has feelings for. One night, when she climbs through his window and summons him on an all-night road trip of revenge, he cannot help but follow her lead. The next day, however, Margo doesn’t come to school, and after a few days it becomes apparent she’s missing. Q soon learns that there are clues in her disappearance that seem to be meant for him to make sense of. But as he gets deeper into the mystery and discovers more about the person Margo actually is, he becomes less sure of who and what he’s looking for.
As a big fan of the book, and one of the people who was impressed by last year’s The Fault in our Stars, I had high hopes for this movie. Although it falls slightly short of what I expected, it’s still very charming, funny, touching, and often entertaining. There are a few changes made from the book, but none that bothered me or affected the story’s quality. Nat Wolff does a great job playing a funny, likable and realistic teenager, portrayed very well. However, Cara Delevingne steals the show as the fascinating Margo, beautiful and perfectly casted. The rest of the cast also do a great job. The teenage protagonists are all very charming, funny, and are portrayed in a very realistic way, in the aspect that they are all facing normal teenage emotions and maturing in a believable but very interesting way. Paper Towns is able to not only entertain and make audiences smile, but also conveys a coming-of-age message, ultimately. It teaches about friendship, desperation, and ultimately understanding what life is about. In addition to this nice story, the soundtrack is well-composed and great to listen to, like The Fault in our Stars‘ soundtrack.
Like I said before, Paper Towns was a slight disappointment. The main problem is that it is way too short. It not only feels rushed, but doesn’t take the time to explain important points of the story, like Q’s relationship with his parents (who only get five seconds of screen time), the bonding between the teenagers the film focuses on, and many people getting involved in Margo’s mysterious disappearance, which were all very important in the book. The movie should have taken at least 20 more minutes to convince us that the protagonists’ mission is worthwhile, and about their entire personality. They weren’t the changes in the book that brought the film down a little, but the pacing and uneven narrative the film has.
Like many teenage movies, Paper Towns is very funny, charming, and well-written, but doesn’t completely have the aim for the main characters that I was searching for. But I would recommend the film for any fans of the book or the film’s genre.