The Fault in the Highly Anticipated Film, “Paper Towns”


Contributing Writer

John Green is a fan favorite for young adults. Fans savor his books, not wanting them to end. Yet, when books are constantly being turned into films, it is hard to feel the same affection for both. It is important, however, that readers understand that there is a difference between the two.

“Paper Towns” is about Quentin Jacobsen’s (Nat Wolff) story. He is an 18-year-old boy who has his entire life planned out. Quentin thrives in the same day-to-day routine and is completely content with living his last few weeks of high school that way.

But, Quentin’s routine is cracked open by an unexpected visitor in the night: Margo Roth Spiegelman (Cara Delevingne). Margo is Quentin’s childhood neighbor and big time crush. When Margo asks Quentin for help on an adventure he is hesitant, but eventually agrees.

The two embark on a night to remember, “bringing the rain” on their enemies. Once the night is over, Quentin finds himself hoping for what might come between him and Margo. But in the next few days, Quentin finds himself in a “Margo-less” world as if she had disappeared into thin air and seems to be the only one who is trying to find her.

When he gets a lead, he convinces his two best friends, Radar (Justice Smith) and Ben (Austin Abrams) to join him on his quest to find Margo.

The movie played to Green’s book as best as it could. However, there are moments in the movie that shine with no attachments to the book. While there will always be some missing details in an adaptation, there were parts of the film that did indeed leave the viewer wanting more.

The main concept that was missing in the film adaptation of “Paper Towns” was Margo. Without that surge of life pulsing through her, with a touch of sadness underneath, it is hard to understand why Quentin is so intent on finding her. Delevingne played more to the popular side of the character. Playing the character as “too cool” made her seem too detached.

Where Margo lacked, Quentin picked up. Wolff showed the quirkiness and awkwardness of an 18-year-old out of his element. While it is difficult to feel the pull of Margo, viewers will see it through the way that Quentin looks at her. When Margo is gone, it is like he is too.

The road trip Quentin and his friends take to find Margo is a true testament of friendship. Radar, an encyclopedia wizard of knowledge, and Ben, a hopeless lover, are Quentin’s closet friends and agree to journey with him. Angela (Jaz Sinclair), Radar’s girlfriend, and Lacey (Halston Sage), Margo’s best friend and Ben’s love interest, also come along for the ride.

These supporting characters are what steal the show. This section of the movie was underwhelming. Though the road trip was fun and memorable, the viewer is constantly left wanting more from the four supporting characters. The road trip is as important to the story as the night that Quentin spent with Margo in the first half of the film.

The movie certainly stands on its own, telling a slightly different story than the book. It is easy to forget, that while the plot is focused on Margo, this is Quentin’s story. It should inspire people to stray from the beaten path and to find what is least expected in one another.

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