When the film adaption of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars went from thickly bound pages to the glowing awe of the big screen in 2014, teenage girls everywhere swooned and sighed as, “Okay,” took on a whole new meaning. Green’s other novel-adapted movie Paper Towns didn’t receive quite as much anticipatory swooning, but also doesn’t require quite as much emotional investment — and that’s okay.
Paper Towns stars Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne as a boy in love, and the girl who steals his heart, respectively. However, this is not so much a love story as it is the story of being young, of being innocent, of making the most of the moments of youth you have left before you stumble your way into noncommittal adulthood. And it’s good, it really is.
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Turning a book into a movie is often quite difficult, particularly with the tired old rhetoric that the book is always better than the movie. While this is often the case, it is tough odds to work against for filmmakers. Adapting Jesse Andrews’ novel Me and Earl and the Dying Girl into a motion picture also certainly had its own unique challenges. For starters, the book is fantastic, setting the bar rather high for the movie. Secondly, and more problematic, was the brevity of the book. MEDG is a book that can be easily read in one day. Not only that, but most of the text is dedicated to the oftentimes strange personal thoughts of the narrator and protagonist Greg Gaines. Plot-wise, I thought making a full-length film would be a stretch. Additionally, I was not exactly sure how they would go about stepping into the mind of Greg.
But, after winning both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance and receiving generally high praise from critics, I figured that director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon had a found a way to work through these supposed problems and I decided to give it a watch, with an open mind that it just might be better than the book (oh, the humanity).
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