Jake Schreier directs this teen mystery drama based on a novel of the same name by John Green, as Quentins long time crush, Margo, disappears, leaving behind clues to here whereabouts as Quentin and his friends go on a journey to find her. The film stars Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Austin Abrams, Halston Sage.
Paper Towns is the sort of teen drama you’d expect but it does stand out a bit with its premise and with the character of Margo especially played surprisingly well by Cara Delevingne, in a role that feels really suited to her, you can see she has a lot of fun playing the character and she plays off pretty well with Nat Wolff who plays Quentin, the guy who idolizes the image of her he has in his mind.
And as far as the performances go, the film is solid with some good chemistry between certain actors, Nat Wolff and Cara especially, although the supporting cast also does a decent job. The film does change a bit as it goes on in relation to the central mystery over Margos disappearance but for a good portion of the film, that’s the main plot device and it works, you want to know where Margo is and why she’ d run away from home. Though the running away thing does take some suspension of disbelief as you learn she’s done it before and her parents don’t really seem to care, Margo’s a special case and takes some figuring out, as Quentin himself comes to realise.
There’s some great camerawork in the film to emphasize characters feelings, coupled with a good use of music to craft some nice scenes, making a sort of visual representation of what a character’s feeling when they’re looking at another character for example and it’s a nice touch.
And maybe ironically, the film gets more interesting when it becomes less about Margo and more about Quentin an his friends albeit as they look for her, I found their own journey and interaction a lot more fun than looking for Margo and that’s probably what John Green was aiming for when he wrote the book in my opinion. There’s some good dialogue throughout the film, highlighting Quentin and his friends nerdyness and insecurities as they go about their way and it’s actually quite funny in the situations they get into and how they interact and react to each other, that car scene with Ben especially. Plot subverts traditional teen dramas, switching things up as far as audience expectations go and this makes for some interesting surprises, things aren’t always the way the seem and there’s often more depth to people than you’d think, it’s a true and meaningful life message and the story works well in getting that across.
Paper Towns is a fun teen drama and a coming of age type story with some fun characters, good writing, unexpected results and a conclusion you just might not see coming, a good watch overall.
. Characterization is good, though as a person Margo is a bit unbelievable
. Plot gets better as it goes on
. Central mystery is kept well