Paper Towns: Film Review


Following on from the success of John Green’s novel A Fault in Our Stars, movie studios clearly thought about the money and decided to adapt another Green book, Paper Towns. The main problem is that there is very little plot, the most interesting character is absent for the majority of the story and the ending makes the whole thing feel pointless. So of course, I’m going to take issue with these things in the film as well – and it’s not the film’s fault, it’s just based on a book that’s not so great.

Quentin (Nat Wolff) has been forever in love with his mysterious neighbour and childhood friend Margo (Cara Delevingne). They drift apart and have barely spoken for years until one night Margo appears at his bedroom window and enlists his help on a nighttime revenge mission on her “friends” and cheating boyfriend. The next day she disappears but she leaves behind clues and Quentin makes it his mission to track her down with his friends Ben (Austin Abrams) and Radar (Justice Smith).


I read the book and I wondered how it could be a good movie as it is basically all about Quentin obsessing over Margo and her clues and the hunt lasts far too long. Luckily, the film has cut that stuff out, so it is not boring and doesn’t suffer from a sag in the middle like the book.  I also think people need to be more aware that this isn’t a love story and the main message is this: putting a person on a pedestal and making them like a fantasy can only be disappointing.

I also think Delevingne is perfect for Margo as they seem like the same person (based on her public persona). The character doesn’t seem too much of a stretch but I loved her performance, her American accent is good and her presence onscreen is memorising. This is being pegged as her starring role but Margo is missing for half the movie. However, Wolff does a damn good job of carrying the film, especially with my favourites Ben and Radar. The banter and chemistry between those three makes the film for me. Ben is particularly is delightful and constantly made me laugh. Plus there is a BRILLIANT cameo from Fault star Ansel Elgort to keep an eye out for!


So I’m happy with the performances and I enjoyed the dialogue a lot, but they can only do so much when the film was going to inherit the book’s problems. Those iffy, pretentious pieces of script are straight from the book, the random collection of black Santas, also in the book, and the annoying ending which makes you question the point, also… you got the idea. It is very loyal to Green’s novel, which fans of it will appreciate, but I think Paper Towns could have been better had it drifted away from it a bit further.

Comparisons are obviously going to be drawn to A Fault in Our Stars, which was one of my favourite films last year. It was brilliant, so powerful and a refreshing take on the illness genre. Paper Towns doesn’t have any of those things – I couldn’t understand or sympathise with Margo, I didn’t truly care if Quentin found her and it is full of many high school scenes that have been done plenty of times before.

Paper Towns is fun and enjoyable and perfect for the young adult crowd. The performances should be praised but don’t expect anything on par with Fault because this is instantly forgettable.

In cinemas now 

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