a review of paper towns, manic pixie dream girls and coffee
“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” - John Green

I watched Paper Towns yesterday. Having read the novel and enjoying it, I had my expectations exceeded. Though I did not love it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Albeit for different reasons than most.

Paper Towns is not a cinematic masterpiece. More often than not, it's slow and pretentious. Like every John Green novel ever. It still captures the heart and soul that makes them so popular. Like every John Green novel ever. Paper Towns is not the next Fault In Our Stars. It doesn't try to be.

What Paper Towns is, is a fine, better-than-average, coming-of-age comedy. It also deconstructs the Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype and explores themes of idealization and identity.

poster of paper towns and review

*Mild spoilers ahead*

Paper Towns is not a romance, even if it has romantic elements. Paper Towns is about Quentin Jacobsen (Nat Wolff), his friends, and his obsession with Margo Roth Spiegelman (Cara Delevigne). One night, she brings him along a whirlwind adventure then she disappears. The question remains. Who is the real Margo?

At first, Margo is a classic Manic Pixie Dream Girl, whose sole purpose is to make Q realize the importance of living in life. She's mysterious, cool, a myth. The myth of Margo Roth Spiegelman. However, as the story progresses, it becomes obvious Margo did not want to be the myth. Man maketh myth. She just lived her life. 

She becomes a deconstruction of the MPDG character from male-oriented romances. Q adored her, admired her, and placed his ideals into her. His life eventually began to revolve her, but it was by his own doing. She did nothing else.  

paper towns still with cara delevigne and nat wolff
Q believed he cracked the Margo. Who wants him to find her. Who sets the whole plot. Who creates this adventure for him. Just so he could live. In short, Q believes in what he wants Margo to be. He sees who he wanted to see in Margo. He views her as a mirror than a window. 

Themes presented in Paper Towns are what makes the film and book so well-liked. Identity, and adoration among others. Q was never in love with Margo, he was in love with the idea of her. The enigmatic and challenging Margo. He forgets what we all do sometimes. We forget that Margo, above all, is a person.

That's the thing about people. We are not mysteries to be solved, puzzles to be cracked, or prizes to be won. We are humans with flaws and faults that needed to be discovered. The moral of Paper Towns is important in the era of romance and fantasy..

People can't be idealized. We shouldn't be.


We are an amalgamation of flesh, bone and thoughts we can't process. Each unique individual free from cryptic mysteries or clear knowledge. We are people, imaginable and consistently misimagined. Quoted from John Green.

Paper Towns is not a film or book to be remembered for its style or writing. I don't even know if I will remember it in a month's time. Yet, Paper Towns remains a film to be watched and a book to be read. It's examination of teenage glorification is one we could all enjoy and learn from.

Okay I lied. This isn't a review per say. More like an English student's analysis on themes presented. Yes. I used my English Literature analysis skills on Paper Towns instead of Othello.

My apologies to disappointed teachers.   

So have you read/watched Paper Towns? What do you think about it?