‘Paper Towns’ shirks from blockbuster archetype


Marin Guta , Digital Editor

The film adaptation of John Green’s “Pa- per Towns” satisfies Green’s fan base by preserving the book’s quirky charm and authenticity.

The protagonist, Quentin Jacobson (Nat Wolff), or Q for short, lives in the suburbs of Orlando, Florida. In the beginning of the movie, Quentin explains how he believes everyone gets a miracle. For Quentin, his miracle is the elusive and adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman, played by model Cara Delevingne. As soon as Quentin lays his eyes on his new neighbor, Margo, he instantly falls in love.

Fast forward a few years, Quentin and Margo are about to graduate high school and no longer talk, but Quentin still ad- mires Margo from afar. Quentin’s undying love for Margo goes unnoticed until Mar- go needs him as an accomplice in a long and crazy revenge-filled scheme. As the audience follows Quentin and Margo on their adventurous escapade, they can’t help but to laugh at Margo’s genius pranks and marvel at her bravery.

Then, after what Quentin refers to as the best night of his life, Margo suddenly dis- appears. Days pass and no one is able to find her. The audience is reminded that Margo vanishes frequently and is never found unless she wants to be. Based off a couple of clues Quentin finds in the days following Margo’s disappearance, he be- lieves that Margo wants him to find her.

Director Jake Schreier takes the audience on a whirlwind of a journey as Quentin searches for Margo. The whole movie is somewhat reminiscent of a 90’s chick flick — it’s clean, entertaining and smart. Now- adays, it difficult to find a young adult film that can cause one to think. However, this movie is layered with significance.

For instance, the meaning behind the name “Paper Towns” refers to the trick that cartographers use to keep their maps from being copied by competitors. It also provides some commentary on the subur- ban lifestyle — everything seems fake, flat and superficial, something many teenagers can relate to.

Nat Wolff’s amiable nature effortlessly transcends the big screen. Yet, at times, his confident performance can be easily misconstrued as slick. It’s undeniable that there is something about Wolff’s acting that is candid and charming.

Delevingne delivers a lackluster perfor- mance partly because she fails to leave a memorable impression with her audience. Instead, Margo comes off as distant and dismissive rather than confused and unsure.

The book’s narrative of an average boy who embarks on a journey of self-discov- ery is quite difficult to translate in a movie of commercial scale. “Paper Towns” isn’t a typical Hollywood movie since it’s neither flashy nor wildly entertaining. The film is rather modest, pleasant and thought pro- voking. It somehow makes one wish that there were more films that could accom- plish this rare combination.