Coming of age films are a staple to each generation. John Hughes in the 80’s was a staple with his films including “Sixteen Candles”, “The Breakfast Club”, or “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” that focused on things including drugs, romance, and the fact of being alive. Those films are regarded as classics and going into the 90’s and 00’s a few films are starting to go to that stature of being called a coming of age film. “Juno”, “American Pie”, “Superbad”, “Boyhood” and “The Spectacular Now” are all films dealing with different situations with teenagers.
Films in the 90s and early 00’s dealt with over the top style with teens losing their virginity to other comedies that focused on a more humorous and silly aspect of high school. Towards the end of the 00’s and the early ’10s coming of age films have started becoming more serious. “Juno”, “The Perks of Being A Wallflower”, “Men, Women and Children”, “Boyhood” and “The Spectacular Now” focus on some heavy subjects to reflect the time period of teen pregnancy, teens relationship with technology, growing up, and alcoholism. “Paper Towns” in particular brings it back to a simpler level.
What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.
John Green is a popular Author and YouTuber who has become internet famous over the years with young adults being very keen on technology and the accessibility of these Internet Celebrities. I personally have not read his books but know they are popular. With his previous film “The Fault In Our Stars” was a huge box office hit. It definitely signified that John Green understands teenagers today and he still does to a great degree in “Paper Towns”. I really thought the message of the film stood out in comparison to other coming of age films from previous years. It felt like a return to form instead of it being over the top or super serious it was simple. Obsession and idolization of people can give you a picture that isn’t true. Which is something teens do and don’t understand.
The cast is a great ensemble. They are very likable characters that you enjoy them all on screen throughout the film. Nat Wolff has a great start here as being a leading actor but he has a long way to go from being a house hold name. Cara Delevingne does her part well as playing Margo. I wish she had more screen time to develop her character. The other cast I hope gets other work going forward, they all had good chemistry. Films with great teen ensembles are hard to come by and with John Hughes movies that was a key part. Without a great cast it doesn’t become as memorable.
The story itself is nothing new, boy loves girl, boy chases girl. Boy is incomplete without the girl. The main topic that I love about the film is the end where he does end up finding her and she asks “Why are you here?” to when Quentin reveals that he is love with her but she says the perfect thing back “You don’t even know me, and neither do I.” Having it end with them still being friends and not being a couple in the end was a great change of pace. Quentin was able to grow up and understand that idolization and calling a girl a “Miracle” is a mistake. People are people and shouldn’t be thought of as perfect beings. Another concept I enjoyed was that life isn’t so black and white to which you don’t have to live in a society view but in a view that is shaped on your own personality. This is definitely one of my favorite coming of age tales that isn’t over complicated or over serious that does signify John Green as the new John Hughes.