By Darren Chan Keng Leong (Singapore)


When I heard that Paper Towns was being made into a film, I was excited at how the film will pan out given the success of The Fault in Our Stars. It is a romantic teenage film that has a sense of maturity which the cast members deliver through their acting skills.

I liked the flow of the plot as it focuses on each unique character in the storyline in ensuring that they get sufficient screen time. Both of the main characters Quentin Jacobsen who is portrayed by Nat Wolff and his childhood crush Margo Roth Spiegelman who is portrayed by Cara Delevingne has great on-screen chemistry that the audience would be able to relate to their individual storyline and dialogue.

Margo helps anchor the story around us and the concept of Paper Towns which I found to be interesting and yet relatable in having a sense of individualism and identity that the world cannot take away. The film also brings out the notion of freedom in not being constraint to the ideals of the world. I personally enjoyed the mission scene that Margo and Quentin embarks in taking revenge on her high school friends and boyfriend who have betrayed her friendship and relationship. The film also dives into the ups and downs of adolescence in terms of capturing those teenage moments of finding one self and skirting around adulthood.

Soon the film moves into a road trip story when Margo goes missing and has left clues to her location. Quentin ropes in his friends in trying to decipher the clues to find her. The theme of close friendships is an integral aspect that Director Jake Schreier hinges on in ensuring that there is a major theme that binds the storylines together. Another aspect of the film that I like would be the awesome soundtrack which is reminiscent of the soundtrack in The Fault in Our Stars. It brings out the clarity of the character’s emotions and changing of the scenes that matches perfectly.

However when Quentin finally manages to catch up to Margo after a series of dead ends and snags, he finally realises the real reason why Margo ran away which is to discover her own self-freedom and dream of living her own life. Margo helps Quentin to find himself and realise that life is not only confine to school but finding life is through exploring the world as well. The film gave a sense of getting out of one’s comfort zone in doing something new and exciting which when internalised, becomes part of our own identity. This film is a charming yet engaging effort in attracting young adults to catch this film.

Paper Towns is one of the films that I would recommend people to watch as it is emotionally driven and easily relatable to people, especially the younger generation. It has earned a place alongside The Fault in Our Stars in making a film not for profit but in telling a sincere and thoughtful story that author John Green intended it to be. Well, I left the film thinking to myself that, “One has to get lost first before one can find themselves.”


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