There’s always something enduring about high school coming of age stories beyond the typical melodrama. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of those movies. While I did have some hangups about the presentation, the story was still sound.
Based off the book by Stephen Chbosky (bonus points if you can tell me how to pronounce that), we follow Charlie, played by Logan Lerman as he begins his first day of high school as a freshman. He eventually befriends a senior named Patrick and his step sister Sam, played by Emma Watson. They take him to a party where he eats a pot brownie and becomes high. Because of this he reveals to Sam that his only friend killed himself the year before. While trying to find the restroom, he stumbles on Patrick making out with the high school quarterback, Brad, in another room. After this night he becomes inducted into their group.
There were two scenes in particular that I really enjoyed and wanted to talk about. The first took place around Christmas. After the group did Secret Santa, Charlie was taken to Sam’s bedroom, where she gave him a typewriter (because he wanted to be a writer), though she wasn’t his Santa. She finds out that he’s never been kissed before, She tells him her first kiss was when she was 11, from her father’s boss. She wants his first kiss to be from someone who loved him, so she kissed him. It was a very sweet moment.
The other took place in the cafeteria. Earlier, Brad’s father caught him with Patrick, and beat him. Later, Brad’s jock friends were teasing Patrick, to maintain his cover, Brad called Patrick a faggot. Patrick started fighting Brad. Brad’s friends joined in, holding and beating Patrick. Charlie runs in to save his friend, and blackouts in the process. He wakes up finding his knuckles bruised, the assailants on the ground and him saying “Touch my friends again, and I’ll blind you.” This to me was a powerful moment.
Again, the movie overall was enjoyable. Though it’s never outright said, it definitely takes place in the 90’s. No one has a cellphone. It’s easy to miss because the kids are prototype hipsters using typewriters, tape decks, etc. masking the time period effectively. My only complaint was the ages. Charlie was supposed to be 3 years younger than the rest of the group, but was obviously the same age. I occasionally found myself questioning if I missed something (where he was held back, etc.). Things like this can’t be avoided typically. It didn’t detract from overall story, only making a few scenes seem out of place. The only eye rolling moment for me was when the explained the title. Patrick called Charlie a wallflower, just observing, not really participating. This is more a personal gripe, whenever a book/movie/show explains the title, no matter how subtle.
High school was a nightmare for everyone, and if it wasn’t, you’re doing it wrong. This movie has something everyone can identify with whether on a personal or peripheral level. I think women will get more out of it, but I would recommend to anyone, except dude-bro’s.
Enjoy Wallflower? What’s your favorite high school drama? Comment or tweet! If you enjoyed what you read, please share!
Emma Watson… I don’t get it.