Paper Towns


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Paper Towns
"Every once in a while young fiction remains true to itself"

Every once in a while young fiction remains true to itself. If finding a partner for the prom is a biggie, babe, let it be. Don't mock.

Paper Towns has deeper roots. The high school same-olds are here but they're not essential. This is a mystery. Also, it's about friendship.

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What do we want from life? What do we know about love? Is it make believe? What's real about a runaway? The final gesture?

Quentin (Nat Wolff) and Margo (Cara Delevingue) are childhood buds. They live next door to each other in Orlando and do everything together, but when Margo reaches 12 she's off with the wild crowd and Quentin's left to hang with his mates, Ben and Radar.

"I have lived here for 11 years," Margo says, "and never come across anyone who cares about anything that matters."

Quentin relates to the solid structure of ordinary life. Margo wants more. She doesn't know what.

"You have to get lost before you find yourself," she says, before disappearing, leaving the faintest of clues for Quentin to decipher.

The police are called.

"She's not missing," her mother insists. "She's gone."

That's a whole other thing. It has a finality unconnected to other people.

Quentin and his friends go in search. The film becomes a journey. They drive for 26 hours to upstate New York on a whim, on the craziest of assumptions, based on something they find in the ruins of a discount store.

Critics call this "rites of passage" as if it happens to every uncertain kid on the cusp of adulthood, which it doesn't, of course. Often the fearful ignorance of growing up is never resolved.

Quentin's road trip opens his eyes to many things, as well as answering the question, "What the hell are we doing here?"

The others are more precise: "If we don't get back we'll miss the prom."

Seldom do teenage movies expose the dream as flawed. Love is mercurial, passion fueled on hope. The search becomes the goal.

According to Margo a paper town is flimsy and inconsequential. Unlike the film.

Reviewed on: 16 Aug 2015
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Paper Towns packshot
A teenage girl runs away from home, leaving her friends to search for clues, opening their eyes to the possibility of change and renewal
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Director: Jake Schreier

Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, based on the novel by John Green

Starring: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Austin Abrams, Justice Smith, Halston Sage, Jaz Sinclair, Cara Buono, Josiah Cerio, Hannah Alligood, Meg Crosbie, Griffin Freeman, Caitlin Carver, RJ Shearer, Susan Macke Miller, Tom Hillmann

Year: 2015

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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