DISCLAIMER: One of my biggest worries before seeing the Paper Towns movie, was that it was going to be compared to TFiOS constantly, and it’s just not the same. So, because of that, I’m going to do my best not to make any comparisons between the two in this review. In fact, this will be the last time I mention it…!
Paper Towns is my third favourite John Green Book. Looking for Alaska is my first, The-Book-That-We-Are-Not-Mentioning is the second. That’s not to say I don’t love it, I actually really enjoyed it, I just preferred the other two. That said, I was very concerned that the film wouldn’t do it justice.
I needn’t have worried at all!
Hilariously funny at times, and poignant at others, this really was a great film. Despite my reservations at the casting, I though Q was incredibly portrayed, likeable, though at some points a bit frustrating. The friendships between the main characters was so believable, I wanted to be part of their group on their epic road trip.
I did have to keep reminding myself that it was a film. Every time Q found or solved another clue, I had to stop myself from thinking ‘well that’s not very realistic! As if he’d look in exactly the right place and come up with the exact answer!’. Had this been any other film, I wouldn’t have analysed it so cynically, and just accepted it for what it was. Perhaps I was just being picky as I feel personally invested in this book. It really was very clever!
For all the bits I loved, I did have one slight issue with the film. As I read it, the book aimed to dispel the idea of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, which is essentially what Q sees Margot as. Rather than the usual situation where Margot ‘saves’ Q, or helps him ‘find himself’, in the book she completely shatters his illusions of her. She’s nothing more than a girl who is yet to discover herself. “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person”. She is not a ‘miracle’ as Q believes in the beginning. It felt as though this whole sentiment was glossed over in the film. I left feeling as though Q was still thinking of Margot, wondering where she was and what she was doing, and still holding her up as some kind of miracle. This was frustrating as I really feel like the film got everything else pretty spot on, except this one point that, to me, was what made me love the book so much.
Other than that, I can’t really fault it! I laughed so hard at parts, and I genuinely didn’t want it to end. It was not too ‘Hollywood’ or sensationalised and didn’t stray too far away from the book. I left feeling really good about it!
So, if you’re a fan of the book, and worried that it won’t quite live up to it all, don’t be! It’s a really great film and I can’t wait to watch it again!