Paper Towns Screen 11 articles

Paper Towns


Paper Towns Poster
  • The nerds have inherited the earth, and the nerd conception of Woman is increasingly popular - a superior creature, idealised, remote, pointedly unavailable, not just Manic Pixie Dream Girl ("I'm a big believer in random capitalisation. The rules are so unfair to letters in the middle!") but Smart Activist Dream Girl, magicking the soft nerdy hero whose job is to gaze adoringly.

  • Despite its glimmers of self-awareness, Paper Towns works neither as a teen romance nor as a subversion of the same. Delevingne possesses an almost preternaturally interesting face, but is at best a beginner actor. Thick furrowed brow and cocked head notwithstanding, she’s too feathery a presence to make her an object of sustained mystery, and the script does her no favors.

  • In the end, what makes Q such a deceptively tricky literary creation — his averageness — is the very thing the filmmakers struggle with... So they pump it up. That struggle is evident in the wall-to-wall pop songs that make it seem as if someone hired a D.J. to get the party going and, in particular, in the almost tic-like overuse of slow motion, a stylistic cliché that, intentionally or not, suggests Q has already begun packaging these moments of modest excitement into memories as they happen.

  • Yes, Paper Towns falls into place as a coming-of-age spin on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype. But to be more specific, it's a cautionary byproduct, a variation which revises the object of desire into more of a Manic-Depressive Pixie. And if it still commits the sin of using that well-worn type to illuminate the psychological profile of the straight white cis male protagonist, at least it demonstrates some level of self-awareness about that self-constructed pitfall.

  • The script makes Quentin realise he’s mythologised his first love to an alarming degree, but offers no solid counterpoint to these puppy-dog fantasies: what we get is a paltry epiphany, long in the coming. Wolff has something, Delevingne has something, and no doubt the book had something, too – its devotees should find enough here to warm to, while the rest of us look on slightly bemused.

  • But if “Paper Towns” can seem a touch familiar, it rarely feels pro forma. Neustadter and Weber’s largely faithful adaptation strikes a nice balance between the hyper-eloquence of Green’s dialogue and the natural rhythms of everyday teenspeak, and they keep up a steady stream of low-key, character-driven humor

  • It’s the conclusion that truly sets Paper Towns apart... Unlike so many other teen films, and adult comedies and dramas, in which men look to the so-called Manic Pixie Dream Girl to rescue them from their mundane lives, Paper Towns exposes this trope as a fiction — one that stifles young women’s freedom to discover who they actually want to be.

  • There’s a common language to these types of romantic teen flicks, and Paper Towns hits all the requisite notes: The soft indie-pop comes in at just the right moments, and the light comedy plays well without stepping on the sensitive feelings being expressed. That might make it easy to mistake the film for humdrum genre work, but there’s something bold here, too.

  • Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber adapted a young adult novel by John Green, and like their previous adaptations, The Spectacular Now and The Fault in Our Stars, this is sensitive and often winning in its depiction of adolescent behavior; the characters speak openly about their vulnerabilities, which makes them sympathetic. Director Jake Schreier (Robot & Frank) sets a dreamy tone, shooting much of the action at night or in dim spaces to capture the allure of the unknown.

  • +

    Sight & Sound: Charlie Lyne
    July 31, 2015 | September 2015 Issue (p. 84)

    Its imitative tendencies are not without purpose, allowing screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber to deconstruct the rote formulas of the modern teen movie in search of underlying truths. And just as a passing reference to the forgotten kiddie flick Snow Dogs (2002) hints at the presumed age bracket of the film's audience, this constant probing of genre clichés reveals a refreshingly complex understanding of the contemporary teenage taste for self-analysis.

  • Self-consciously literate as it might sound, Paper Towns blossoms into an engaging, freshly acted ensemble piece – a rare US teen movie that isn’t about caricatured nerds and dorks, and doesn’t treat its audience as dorks either. I found it quite charming – and I don’t normally do charming.