ByNick Pell, writer at
Reviews Movies, TV Shows, and Video Games
Nick Pell

Really quick before the review, I got to see this in the Night on the Towns event at AMC and it was pretty neat. Some quick notes:

  • Autographed poster from Nat, Cara, and John is neat. Not sure what I'll do with the locket
  • Introduction from John Green and Dylan O'Brien was cool, as was the second Scorch Trials trailer (although I don't need to see anymore of it before September).
  • The after show was a little touch and go. Somewhat unexciting first half with a band I've never heard of and interviews with supporting actresses and producers. Much better second half when they went to Cara and Nat in Canada (likely due to Cara shooting "Suicide Squad" there and making it tough to take off for California). Loved their chemistry off-screen. Nat did a good musical performance at the end.

"Paper Towns" is the second John Green novel to be turned into a film, following last year's "The Fault in Our Stars" and soon to be followed (likely around this same time next year) with "Looking For Alaska." It stars Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne in the lead roles as Quenten and Margo. Now, the book version of this film is admittedly my least favorite of the three I've read (Fault, Looking, Paper), so I went into this film not expecting to like it a ton. Does it live up to that expectation? Read on to find out.

Nat Wolff does a great job as Quenten. He captures the essence of a character who is trying to breeze through high school with his future set out before him. The chemistry he shows with his friends, played by Austin Abrams and Justice Smith, also works nicely as the three bounce off of each other to a believable degree. It's neat that, while they're not to most popular kids in school, they don't use that fact to reduce themselves. They each embrace and accept who they are and run with it. It's a cool thing to see in this era ripe with stereotypes about high schoolers.

The actress who seems to be rising through the acting ranks more than anyone though is Cara Delevingne, who is currently filming for next summer's "Suicide Squad." Cara is fantastic in the small amount of scenes she's in and I would have loved to see more of her character had the story allowed for it. Delevingne truly captures this idea of finding one's self, something made obvious by her chats with Quenten early in the film. These scenes were some of my favorites thanks to the fantastic chemistry between Wolff and Delevingne and the later's outstanding charisma.

One thing which bugged me about the book is how long Green decided to dwell in certain places within the plot, giving us insight into Quenten's mind and thoughts while not actually moving the plot forward. The film fixes this nicely. Every scene has some purpose to push forward the plot and none are ever wasted. This is likely why I found myself enjoying "Paper Towns" as a film much more than I did as a novel, something which rarely happens with these book-to-film adaptations.

The film is also unexpectedly funny. Oftentimes, the trailer will give away most, if not all, of a film's jokes, but there were many more scattered throughout the film which had me laughing hysterically in the theater along with the rest of the audience. Great comedic timing by the actors helps this and allowed the film to stand out more for me.

My only real gripe, and it's not so much as gripe as it is a preference, is the ending. Now, it's been about two years since I've read "Paper Towns" but I remember the ending a bit differently than it was in the film. And that's fine, but it seemed a little long and drawn out when it could have been done in a few different places.

Outside of that, "Paper Towns" is a fantastic book-to-film adaptation and one which I can definitely recommend. It's got heart, soul, and a great life lesson by the end which can resonate with most everyone.

But those are my thoughts. Leave yours in the comments below!

Check out my video review here:


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