***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***
I recently saw the movie “Paper Towns,” the film adaption of the 2008 John Green novel of the same title. The film starred Nat Wolff as Quentin Jacobsen, Cara Delevingne as Margo Roth Spiegelman, Austin Abrams as Ben Starling, Justice Smith as Marcus Lincoln, Halston Sage as Lacey Pemberton, and Jaz Sinclair as Angela (found here on IMDB)
The movie follows Quentin “Q” (Wolff) as he and his friends Ben (Abrams) and Marcus “Radar” (Smith) navigate through their senior year of high school in Orlando, Florida. Q never spoke to his neighbor Margo (Delevingne) much, not after he refused to help her sneak out to Seaworld when they were 8-years old. He regretted the decision ever since, and believed he would get a second chance to spend time with the love of his life. And one night, he does.
Margo asks for his help in extracting a revenge plot against her ex-boyfriend and former best friends, one of whom was sleeping with her boyfriend at the time. Margo wants to right all the wrongs (and wrong a few rights) in her life. And, best of all, Q finally has his chance at redemption. He believes that things will change for him and Margo after that night, because she was his miracle, his chance at true love.
But when Margo disappears (again), Q believes she wants him to find her after finding as series of clues she leaves behind. He and his two friends Ben and Radar, along with Radar’s girlfriend Angela (Sinclair) and Margo’s [former] best friend who knew nothing about the cheating incident Lacey (Sage), travel thousands of miles from Orlando, Florida to the paper town of Agloe, New York. This is where Q hopes to find Margo, waiting for them. Except she isn’t there, no matter how hard the five high schoolers search.
Believing that Margo was waiting for him somewhere, Q volunteers himself to stay behind in New York as his friends returned to Florida for their senior prom. While purchasing bus tickets at a station in a nearby town, Q catches a glimpse of Margo outside the window (such convenient timing). He runs to her, calls her name, and sure enough, it’s her.
This is my favorite part of the movie (and book), when Q confronts Margo, telling her that he found the clues she left for him and travelled all the way to New York to find her. I love this, because Margo didn’t want to be found. She didn’t expect Q to drive all the way to New York, she left the clues to let him (but not just him, everyone) know that she was alive and well somewhere in the world. And that’s when Q realizes that Margo is just a person, she isn’t a miracle and she isn’t anyone special. He was idealizing her as his savior, the love of his life even though he barely knew her (as she points out at the end of the movie).
That was the main reason I enjoyed this movie. While full of clichés, I found it refreshing that in the end, the boy didn’t get the girl. He got something much more valuable; his friends. After confronting Margo for the last time, Q returns to Florida and rushes to prom to dance with his friends. He realizes that they were his miracle all along, that he didn’t need Margo Roth Spiegelman to find adventure in his life.
The casting for this movie was very well done, as each actor/actress fit their role perfectly. I especially liked Wolff as Q, Delevingne as Margo, and the small cameo of Ansel Elgort as the convenience store clerk (Elgort held a lead role in Green’s other book-to-movie adaptation, “The Fault in Our Stars”). Each actor did a very believable job within their role, especially Delevingne, having very little prior acting experience.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys John Green books/movies, and doesn’t mind cliché teen movies. This movie definitely isn’t for everyone, and I wouldn’t call it a piece of cinematic brilliance, but it did offer some of that John Green charm that made it enjoyable to watch.
Note: any and all images are very definitely not our own, all from the official Facebook page.