Paper Towns follows in the footsteps of other teenage existentialist classics like Rebel Without a Cause and The Breakfast Club, while still having something poignant to say.
The whole film, Quentin’s pining for Margo is paralleled with Ahab’s pursuit of the White Whale. Margo’s immediately given a transcendent quality. Quentin refers to her as his miracle and a mystery. She can’t be defined, nor can she be confined; the moment anyone tries, she runs away. Q loves her for it, or at least, he loves the idea of her, but I’ll get to that later in the review.