Paper Towns was designed for children that need to be protected from simple realities, human unfriendliness and over dramatic trigger warnings.
Paper Towns was designed for people who could only accept the notion of suicide if it was presented as something that would never happen to them, a thing that only occurs to middle-aged men going through their mid-life crisis; if you’re pretty, young and popular there’s no way you could fall victim to something as ugly and unglamorous as depression.
People argu that this film was produced to dismantle the notion of “manic pixie dream girl.” I feel like all this has done is reinforce this unrealistic idyllic representation of what young teenage girls “should be”. Margo Roth Spiegelman starts off as a cool, popular beauty who parties with jocks (referred to by Quentin as a “miracle”) into an even more elusive, fantasy-like, euphoric being, with her disappearances creating an even larger air of mystery that leaves us easily imagining Quentin, pining for her long after her sudden exit.
The film is overloaded with extremely cliched character quirks, what with Margo’s fissiparous like for conventional captilization making it a classic example of trying too hard to be unique, which in itself is making you “unique, just like everyone else”. With the addition of Radar’s never-ending collection of black Santas and and Ben’s addiction to calling grown women “honeybunnies”. It’s a neatly packaged film on solid, middle class middle ground, with the rough edges rubbed out. Quentin conveniently has a black best friend to present the “total diversity” and nothing controversial is ever said with the small fight between Quentin and his friends being resolved within moments.
This film never succeeds in becoming a ‘real’ teenage love story because it acted out by a bunch of squeaky clean teenagers turning the whole thing borderline mundane.
p.s. I liked the book.