Film review: Paper Towns (8 out of 10)

It’s too easy to fall into the trap of trying to categorise a movie. Is it an action film, a horror story, part of the super hero genre?

Paper Towns SUS-150822-085720001
Paper Towns SUS-150822-085720001

Paper Towns could be just filed under ‘one for teenagers’.

But it’s far more.

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True, the main stars are all supposed to be in the final year of high school (although in reality for the most part the actors are in their 20s), but this is a film that will entertain a far wider audience.

And the reason is that this gentle and entertaining movie deals with hopes and aspirations that are universal.

Plus the young actors are excellent.

This is the second book by John Green that’s been transferred to the big screen, with last year’s The Fault in Our Stars getting a lot of critical acclaim.

Green seems to have a knack for writing for a younger audience.

There’s no dumbing down and he presents a very real world.

Paper Towns sees Q (short for Quentin) and Margo grow up as neighbours and friends.

However, as years go by they drift apart until one night Margo arrives at his bedroom window and asks Q to help her as she exacts revenge on a cheating boyfriend and various other ‘friends’.

It’s a magical evening for Q but Margo disappears the following day, leaving a few clues for the love-struck teenager to decipher.

As he sets out on his quest to track her down, Q is helped by his best friends Ben and Radar.

British actress and model Cara Delevingne has grabbed all the headlines for her portrayal of Margo and, true, she is very good.

But the strength of the film lies in the performances of Nat Wolff as Q, Austin Abrams as Ben and Justice Smith as Radar.

They seem at ease in each other’s company which is either great acting or they really did get along well.

Director Jake Schreier provided us with another low budget about human frailties back in 2012 with Robot & Frank.

In Paper Towns he lets his young actors do all the running, there’s hardly any scenes with adults.

There’s some very funny moments and the whole movie just fits together well - a surprise summer delight.

Film details: Paper Towns (12A) 109mins

Director: Jake Schreier

Starring: Cara Delevingne, Austin Abrams, Justice Smith

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol