Visiting Agloe
'Whilst certainly a film about mystery and love, it is also a comedy, with laugh-out-loud moments.'
Chloe Vialou-Clark | 7 November 2015

Having become such an iconic and moving story, I am sure that most of you have seen or read the tragic love story, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Following its release last year, the author has attracted millions of fans and readers with his new-found fame. The long-awaited film based on John Green’s most recent riveting novel, Paper Towns, is now showing in cinemas. This exciting love story, laced with mystery and drama, has attracted millions of viewers around the world this summer. Having read the book following its release in 2008, I could not wait to see how the story had been translated onto the big screen.

Ever since the attractive and mysterious Margo Roth Spiegelman had moved in opposite the hero of our film, Quentin Jacobson, he had been in love with her. Despite growing apart through high school, a wild and exciting night of pranking Margo’s enemies brought the two closer together. The next day, however, Margo strangely disappeared. Determined to find her and follow the clues to the distant ‘paper town’ of Agloe, Quentin and his friends attempt to unravel the mystery that is Margo Roth Spiegelman.

The director took the liberty of making a few changes in the film, which altered the plot slightly, but I did not think detracted from the main storyline at all. In fact, John Green himself admitted that he, “Missed a real opportunity in the book” by not developing the role of Angela, Quentin’s friend and Radar’s girlfriend.

The stunning actress and fashion model Cara Delevingne stars as Margo. In my opinion, she portrayed my favourite character perfectly. She is by far the most interesting and complex character, as she is thought of so differently by the people that know her. Quentin idolises her as she is beautiful, unattainable and exciting, but by the end of the film, he realises she is just another teenage girl. The infatuated protagonist, known as Q to his friends, is played by the singer-songwriter Nat Wolff. Having also starred in The Fault in Our Stars as Augustus’ friend, Isaac, he is clearly a big fan of John Green’s work and perfectly suited to play the role.

A dominating theme in John Green’s story is the danger of making a person seem more than they are. This is illustrated similarly in another of his novels, Looking for Alaska. The protagonist, Miles, is forced to accept that, in the end, he did not really know the smart, quick-witted and beautiful Alaska Young. I find this message really important, as it also reflects the reader/viewer’s way of looking at the characters. From Quentin’s admiration and infatuation with Margo, we are in awe of her amazing adventures, like joining the circus because, “They thought she had potential on the trapeze”, or sneaking her way backstage into a rock concert. We admire her edginess and coolness at the beginning of the film, yet pity her in the end, trying to find her way in life, alone, in her quiet ‘paper town’.

Whilst certainly a film about mystery and love, it is also a comedy, with laugh-out-loud moments such as Radar’s embarrassing secret that his parents own the biggest collection of Black Santas(!) and the hilarious midnight pranks that Margo plays on her enemies, such as removing eyebrows and covering an entire car in cellophane!

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, as well as the novel, and definitely recommend it. Watch it now to understand the secret of the mysterious Margo Roth Spiegelman.


Original image by Chloe Vialou-Clark.

James Routledge 2016