Written & Directed by Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller and Paul Rudd
Review Written by: Leonhard Balk
Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Not having read the book, I did not anticipate the twists and turns in the story and the complexity of the characters. Beneath the façade of a normal American high school film, set in the early 90s, I was astonished to find real emotion and struggle. Let me clarify for those few who have, like me, not read the book and have no idea what people are raving about.
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, directed by the book's author Stephen Chbosky, tells the story of lonely teen Charlie. Charlie is about to start his freshman year, his first time at a public school, after suffering a mental breakdown. He soon meets a group a likeable outcasts in their senior year: Sam (Emma Watson), a lively and beautiful girl with a dark past, and Patrick (Ezra Miller), her gay step-brother. The film moves along at a smooth pace, covering the span of a year in just over 90 minutes. Along the way, we remember what it was like to feel lost and confused and without a sense of purpose. We see Charlie struggle with drugs, first love and his past.
“We can be Heroes
Just for one day “
Something that should be mentioned, as it is indeed a very important part of the film, is it's soundtrack. Just as Charlie struggles to define himself as a person by reading an insane amount of books, the film itself is an unapologetic pastiche of sound and visuals. The most obvious reference lies in the use of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Sam and Patrick put on a weekly performance of the musical, it is here that Charlie is introduced to the sexual elements of growing up (he is asked out by a co-performer, after stepping in to play the part of Rocky).
More importantly, with the film being set in the early 90s, there is a good deal of mixtape swapping and trading. Charlie begins his journey by listening to the Smiths, their songs for once used in proper context, and ends it by finding the name to a mystery song: David Bowie's “Heroes” plays at a crucial point in the films narrative. At the time, our heroes don't know the name of Bowie's piece, they spend a good deal of screentime talking about the unknown song, Charlie holds on to the memory of them listening to it as a reminder of the good time he had with his friends. Finally, at the end of a long emotional journey, Charlie and his friends rediscover the song after finding out it's name. Each one of them has faced his/her demons and has resurfaced as a more complete and happy person. Charlie's last words mirror Bowie's lyrics perfectly:
“I know these will all be stories someday […] But right now these moments are not stories. This is happening […] And in this moment I swear, we are infinite. ”
By Movie Parliament Minister for History,
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