I went to see the Paper Towns film yesterday and I thought that since I’d only read the book just before watching the film, I’d review both.
I am not an avid reader of John Green books by any means. I’ve read maybe three books written by him.
I am not in doubt that John Green has a unique way of writing that draws people in. When I talk to friends about his writing style, I say he, “writes like he speaks”.
If you watch him on YouTube you’ll know what I mean. I like John Green very, very much as a human being, I just think he is a little overrated.
Paper Towns tells the story of high school senior, Quentin Jacobsen, who is madly in love with his neighbour Margo Roth Spiegelman.
Margo is a rebellious girl, who used to appear at Quentin’s bedroom window at night when they were children, enticing him out into the night on adventures. As they grew older, they grew apart.
In school, Margo is the “it” girl. She’s got a handsome boyfriend and everyone wants to be her. However, Margo seems very unsettled in her life and frequently runs away.
One night, after years of barely speaking to Quentin, she appears at his bedroom window asking if she can borrow both his car and him as a getaway driver.
They embark on a revenge plot against Margo’s ex-boyfriend who cheated, Becca, the girl who her ex cheated with, her best friend and a school bully.
Quentin is certain that because of this adventure, things will be different in school from now on, and that him and Margo can rekindle their friendship.
However, it doesn’t turn out that way. The next day, Quentin, along with his best friends Radar and Ben find out that Margo has disappeared.
After a few days, clues are recovered in different places, such as Margo’s room, Quentin’s door and an abandoned building. Quentin is convinced that Margo left these clues so that he can find her and be reunited.
I read the book very quickly actually. Something I admired was the clues that John Green used in the film, clues that were found in real life literature and music.
To be honest, if you enjoyed any of John Green’s other books, I don’t see why you wouldn’t like “Paper Towns”.
I wasn’t overwhelmed with emotion by anything in the film. I absolutely loved the visuals in the film, the cinematographer David Lanzenberg did a brilliant job in my opinion.
One thing I note with film adaptions of Green’s books is that those involved with the film try desperately to make it into an indie film, by using choice music.
In that saying, my favourite song played in the film was “Re:stacks” by Bon Iver, a song that’s very personal to me.
I felt that casting Nat Wolff (of Nickelodeon’s The Naked Brothers Band fame) as Quentin was very good. He looks the part and I feel that he was able to play Quentin, an awkward, introverted goof very well.
Cara Delevingne actually surprised me, I monitored her accent throughout the film to see if I could hear her slip up. Her transition from modelling for top brands into making films has worked quite well.
I’m always skeptical when models turn to acting, but Cara is getting away with it this time.
I couldn’t take Justice Smith, (the actor who played Radar) very seriously. His voice seemed extremely deadpan throughout the film. As for Austin Abrams, I remember telling my friend sitting beside me that he looked like a member of a very bad boyband.
The film did make me think though. I started thinking about what I wanted from my life, how there were things in my own life that I want to escape, things that I wish I could go back and change.
The film made me realise that I need to go out there in the world and try achieve what I want to achieve. As Margo says, after Quentin remarks that his heart was beating really fast and he was full of adrenaline, that “that is the way you should feel your whole life”.
So, it kind of made me wake up a little. The film also made me a little sad, how you can’t follow some people, no matter how much you want to, or how much you love them. Green’s books don’t always have a happy ending, much like life I suppose.