If I had to describe the movie to someone, I’d say it’s a story written by an adult through the framework of a college lifestyle in the world of high school. Of course that sounds like it would never work because what do adults, college kids, and high-schoolers have in common? Well, it’s amazing how a good storyteller can come along and connect the dots because the three intertwine in a lot of ways if you take the time to look. Actor Robert Downey Jr. said, “I guarantee that you can learn everything you need to know about life before the age of 16.” This movie is a pretty good example of those words. Based on the book of the same name, The Perks of Being a Wallflower really has a lot to offer for the younger generations and serves as fundamentally sound entertainment for the generations who have “been there and done that.”
Based on the novel written by Stephen Chbosky, this is about 15-year-old Charlie (Logan Lerman), an endearing and naive outsider, coping with first love (Emma Watson), the suicide of his best friend, and his own mental illness while struggling to find a group of people with whom he belongs. The introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors, Sam and Patrick (Ezra Miller), who welcome him to the real world. (IMDB Online)
The movie was first described to me as a blueprint for anyone under the age of 20 and a recreationally good movie for anyone else, but a ‘must-see’ for anyone. So by the time I got around to picking it up, I was enthusiastic about watching it. Ergo, this usually creates a bit of a bias – of which I will admit to having here, so this review is subject to revision after a second watch – so I’m not entirely sure that this movie is as good as I believe thus far. But my first watch was certainly an enjoyable one. There’s usually a point in a good movie – and by good I mean exceptionally good – where I get a nice shiver running through me because of some type of excellent execution of form or function. This shiver, a literal and very real thing, is usually a pretty good determining factor in how I felt about a movie. For example, I got chills all throughout Saving Private Ryan; or in the truly beautiful moments of Titanic; when we found out the true meaning of the dying words, “Rosebud,” in Citizen Kane; in other words, no ordinary movie can inspire such a shiver in me. So it goes a long way, even with bias, to say that this movie gave me chills.
It was late – literally minutes before the credits rolled – when I felt the shiver, but upon hearing the words, “We are infinite,” after seeing the emotional melancholy of all the characters – the struggles, the development; the grittiness of life and all its bleak moments – that I felt that those words were earned and had true meaning. There is beauty in tragedy and this movie hits on that point excellently.
I could nitpick to find some minor trifles, but ultimately it would be doing exactly that; nitpicking. The only major problem that I had was that the story was a bit obvious at times. In some moments, I’d find myself thinking, “This is just too good to be true. Something bad is about to happen…” and then in the next scene I find that I was correct. It sounds weird, but I hate it when I’m right concerning the plot of a movie. I’d much rather be wrong and surprised because there’s a bigger pay off. What’s the point of seeing a movie where you can guess what happens next when you’ve never seen the movie? But fortunately, the story did some great recovery work when it slipped up.
So, I must say, this movie is indeed well worth an 8.5/10 in my opinion. It’s technically sound, the acting was phenomenal, the story really delivered, and when all the elements assembled together, it made for one hell of a movie. I look forward to watching it again, which justifies my liking for the movie and I would indeed pass on my friends advice: Anyone under 20 should probably watch this movie and everyone else must see it just for the thrill of a good story.