Paper Towns (2015) Movie Review

“Paper Towns” is charm-filled inspiration: 4/5

Near the conclusion of Paper Towns, the newest film adapted from a novel by author John Green, Quentin (Nat Wolff), tells the audience “what a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person”. Even after that, I found it very difficult to see Paper Towns as just a movie.

I had the pleasure of seeing Paper Towns with two very good friends of mine. After seeing the film in a nearly empty auditorium, we got out of our seats, and walked along, acting giddy and talking rather loudly. It had occurred to me that we may have come across as actually quite irritating, but we didn’t care. We played a round of pinball in the cinema arcade, and exited the arcade through a hole in the wall right behind the poster for the new Maze Runner movie. We were living life.

Because Paper Towns is an idea. Sure, as a film, I could sing praises all day. I can label the film with lines that they plaster on movie posters, such as; “terrific performances, especially from Wolff and Delevingne” “Funny and thoughtful”, and “Inspiring… will make you want to cheer”, but as an idea, Paper Towns has so much more to say. It talks of love, life, friendship, and quickness of time, and does so with charm and cleverness.

The plot is simple enough. The film revolves around Quentin, who is in love with the weird but pretty girl across the street named Margo (Cara Delevingne). They were friends way back when, but since then they have drifted apart. But one night, Margo climbs through Quentin’s window and takes him out for a night filled of fun and revenge, righting wrongs and punishing those who committed them. The next day, Margo has disappeared, and Quentin teams up with his two friends Ben (Austin Abrams) and Radar (Justice Smith), and Margo’s best friend Lacey (Halston Sage) to find her, which they do with heart and humor.

However, the plot sounds like just about any modern teen film. But what makes Paper Towns unique? What makes it not just a paper movie? It would have to be the effect it had on me. It made me look at myself and wonder “Do I live in a paper town? Am I a paper person?” No other film so far this year has made me question myself like this, not even Disney Pixar’s stellar Inside Out.

Needless to say, Inside Out is a better film, but comparing two different films such as Inside Out and Paper Towns would be a waste of my time, your time, and space on the page. Paper Towns is an affecting film, not in its execution, per se, but in its ideals. The characters are relatable; I could see myself in Quentin, Ben, and even in Margo. When you question their motivations and actions, you are simultaneously questioning your own.

In the end, I am up early in the morning writing this review, and I am very tired. Yet I still write these words. Why is that? Because Paper Towns needs to get out. Sadly, the film is underperforming at the box office, and I feel that it is an important movie to see. I am not writing for myself, but for you, dear reader. If you see a film this week, make it Paper Towns. If you see it, I can only hope you see it the way I do. And that may mean one less paper person. And we all know that paper people make up paper towns.


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