No spoilers will be revealed in this review.
Last night, I went to a show of Paper Towns, one of my most anticipated book to movie adaptations of 2015! I read Paper Towns by the amazing John Green very recently and loved it, since it was beautifully written and had a lot more substance than most of the YA novels I read. (If you want to see my review for that novel, click here.)
Therefore, I came to the theater with very high expectations. Although not all of those expectations were met and certain aspects were a bit lacking, this movie was beautiful and ended up portraying the book more perfectly than I could have ever hoped.
One of the most noticeable problems was the beginning of the film. It attempted to provide all of the necessary background information within the first few minutes. However, that only served to confuse the audience more with the extremely fast pace the plot was moving at. Those who read the book recently were able to comprehend, since it was information they knew. However, those who read the book a couple years ago or chose to forgo the book and watch the movie were very puzzled and couldn’t comprehend the large amount of information that was being thrown at them in a short amount of time. Although that part of the movie only lasted a couple of minutes, the information they provided was important and needed to be digested by the viewer in order to comprehend the rest of the film. So, for any of you who haven’t read the novel or don’t remember it that well, I recommend familiarizing yourself with at least the first chapter or two of the book before going to watch it. Trust me, it’ll make all the difference.
Another aspect of the movie that I’m sure everyone grew to hate as they continued watching was the diction and intelligibility of the actors’ words. I admit that they’re playing teenagers, and teenagers tend to mumble and have problems voicing themselves clearly. However, that form of speech is completely unacceptable for actors who are addressing an audience. From Nat Wolff (Quentin), who murmured his way through every situation, to Cara Delevigne (Margo), who’s American accent was great but caused her to have a very prominent speech impediment of sorts, I had trouble hearing and comprehending many of the dialogues in the film. I strongly suggest to anyone who plans to watch this on the big screen to instead wait until it comes out on Netflix, because you’ll have subtitles and will be able to actually understand and enjoy the movie.
Speaking of Cara Delevigne, I am a bit disappointed of her portrayal of Margo. Her physical description doesn’t match that of Margo, and that would easily be overlooked if it wasn’t for the fact that it was a pretty important part of the novel to many readers. Margo talked to Quentin in the novel about how her friends would always make subtle comments about her body and being somewhat fatter than them. Quentin didn’t ever think that she was fat, because she was Margo, and she was perfect the way she was. Although that was only a small part of the novel, many teenage girls who read it began to take Margo as a role model and used that part of the book to remind themselves that their bodies were perfect, too. In this day and age, it’s necessary to uplift girls and tell them that they’re beautiful, and that passage in John Green’s novel, no matter how small, managed to do just that.
However, for the movie, who did they choose to portray Margo, the girl who reminded everyone that they don’t need to look like a model to be pretty? A model. Cara acted pretty well as Margo, but when the image of the character mattered so much to the readers, I think they should have factored the physical description in when casting.
Nat Wolff, however, beautifully portrayed Quentin. He was exactly how I imagined he would be: awkward, funny, a bit obsessive, and up for a good time. It’s a beautiful thing, seeing one of your favorite characters come to life on the big screen, but Nat Wolff’s spot-on acting made the experience downright magical.
There were some alterations from the book to the movie, but I personally liked the plot of the film more than that of the novel. The movie managed to make the storyline a lot more realistic and cleared up many questions readers, including myself, had while reading. Some facets of the book were really unrealistic, but the film managed to make it a lot more understandable and authentic. Although I loved the novel a whole lot more than I loved the film, this aspect of the movie was one thing that I couldn’t help but enjoy more.
However, one part of the plot that the movie didn’t carry over well was the frustration Quentin’s friends had over his obsessive hunt for Margo. In the novel, his friends quickly became irritated with him and did not help him in pursuing Margo until the road trip, where they soon had a falling out, as well. However, the movie portrayed his friends as almost completely willing to help him for the majority of the film. It didn’t manage to show the fact that Quentin was the only one who really cared for Margo, no matter how much he really knew about her. It didn’t manage to show how much Quentin loved her, and that upset me quite a bit.
At the end, though, everything was perfect. I absolutely adored the last few minutes of the film, because it wrapped the novel up very well. It showed a bright and hopeful future but managed to remind everyone just how deep and thought-provoking the book really was. It left you feeling fulfilled, so it did it’s job, and I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the whole experience.