The teens and early twentysomethings we see in the movies bear little resemblance to actual youth as it is experienced these days. “Paper Towns” is the rare exception, a film that regards young people as complex, fallible and capable of a grace even they couldn’t have envisioned.
Nat Wolff plays Quentin, a band geek who’s coasting through high school, just waiting for it to end so he can transmogrify into someone better, and less invisible. As a kid he used to pal around with his neighbor Margo (Cara Delevingne), who is the adventurous yin to his timid yang, but they grew up, and apart.
One night Margo takes Quentin on a magical journey of wrong-righting and right-wronging, which she promises will be the best time of his life. And it is. But then Margo disappears, and Quentin and his small circle of friends launch a quest to solve the mystery, track down Margo and – in Quentin’s mind, anyway – close the loop and make her his girlfriend.
Things don’t go that way, though I won’t spoil the wondrous ways in which expectations are subverted. Suffice to say, Quentin finds the thing he didn’t know he was looking for.
Based on the book by John Green, and written by the same guys who adapted last year’s hit “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Paper Towns” is a wise, sad, funny and realistic portrayal of what it’s like to live, love and yearn as a teenager.
Video extras are tremendous, and you don’t have to pay more for blu-ray to get some good stuff. The DVD edition comes with a feature length commentary track by Green and director Jake Shreier; photo gallery; four promotional featurettes; and “lightning round” dialogues between Green and his two main stars.
Upgrade to blu-ray and you add five deleted or alternate scenes, a gag reel and three making-of mini documentaries.