If you saw The Fault In Our Stars, you can probably deduce that any adaptation of a John Green book has the potential to stir up some sniffles. The new movie Paper Towns is no exception. Set in a small Florida suburb, the film shows the physical and emotional journey of the teenage Quentin as he searches for Margo, his friend and crush who has recently gone missing. It definitely seems like a great movies to see in theaters, but because I'm a verifiable "ugly crier" I'm very selective about what tearjerkers I'll watch in public. If you're in the same boat, you might be wondering, "will Paper Towns make me cry?"
Well...probably. But the matter of whether your crying takes the form of a single teardrop down the cheek or a snot-filled sobfest depends largely on what tugs your personal heartstrings. There are no gory battles, sick puppies or shattered iPhone screens in Paper Towns, so if any of those things are your triggers then you're probably safe. But there's a poignant pain to this coming-of-age story, which stars Cara Delevingne as the mysterious girl-next-door and Nat Wolff as the boy who loves her from afar. Delevingne's character Margot doesn't give Wolff's Q the time of day until one night when she surprises him with an adventure and lets him into her world. But then Margot goes missing, and Quentin makes it his mission to find her. Sounds heartwarming but not heartwrenching, right?
Actually, "heartwrenching" might be right. Feeling a little misty-eyed? Paper Towns is an example of a seemingly simple story that actually has a ton of layers. The movie emphasizes the feelings of its characters as much as the plot, allowing viewers to empathize with them whether they want to or not. It reminds us that emotions are messy and confusing, and that our expectations for life and for other people aren't always plausible. You can put someone on a pedestal and dream about them, but in reality, he or she is just as imperfect as any other human being. People have the capacity to disappoint, to let us down. And that realization can be just as painful to watch onscreen as any death scene.
So, there's bad news and good news. The bad news: you may very well cry into your Jujubes in the theater, as Paper Towns spares no hearts in reminding us that life and our relationships are inherently flawed. The good news: there are other films which also examine this concept, but do it from an angle that's substantially lighter. Here are a couple favorites to watch after Paper Towns to dry your tears:
1. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
If Jason Segel made it through that naked break-up scene, you can make it through this film.
2. The Wedding Singer
The saddest part of this movie is actually the hairstyles. The '80s were not kind.
3. High Fidelity
An angsty John Cusack makes any day better. Jack Black helps too.
4. Silver Linings Playbook
Love is messy, and dance scenes are hard.
5. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
An emotional roller-coaster of a movie, Perks deals with the pain of human emotions in brilliant ways.
So curl up in front of any one of these to remind yourself that life, while bittersweet, can also be really freaking funny. And then go see Paper Towns in theaters and cry like you just accidentally dropped your fro-yo. Shhhh, it's gonna be okay.
Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy (5)