Skip to main content

Movie Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

I watched a bunch of movies on the plane ride to Manila, okay? Let me get this out of my system.

Fear not, fellow world-weary pseudo-intellectuals! The Perks of Being a Wallflower dodges the teenage movie trap of being derivative, boring, and/or completely brainless. Instead, it's refreshing, different, and dare I say it, moving. The success of the film can be attributed to three factors: the strong screenplay, based on a book by the director; the earnest performances of the three leads; and the story's reverence for good music.

The movie focuses on Charlie (Logan Lerman), who dreads his first day of high school. In his narration, he hints that he has been through something traumatic that's kept him away from other people. His first days as a freshman are marked with classic tropes:  sitting alone at lunch, getting shoved into a locker, having the English teacher encourage him, etc.

His life changes when he meets step-siblings Patrick and Sam. They're seniors, and comfortable with their roles as whacky outcasts. They're also perceptive and compassionate. When Charlie gets high and confesses his trauma to Sam, she tells Patrick, and from then on, the two take Charlie under their wing. A slow buildup to the end of the year follows, with a big bump in the middle, naturally. The twist at the end made my eyebrows shoot up -- yes, this movie has a twist!, and no, it wasn't all a dream -- and it worked because it brought everything back to the beginning, and beyond.

Another great thing is that The Perks of Being a Wallflower offers plenty of lessons. The main one, which alludes to the title, is that you can learn a great deal when you hang back and listen -- that is, when you become a wallflower. I suspect we've all been wallflowers at one time or other. The other theme is that every family is dysfunctional, some more than others. But it can work when we're there for each other. Finally, there's the power of music -- writer/director Stephen Chbosky includes songs that meant something in his life, and weaves them through the narrative. In the movie, the music symbolizes the friends' defiant stand against convention and the thoughtless, imitative behavior typical of their peers.

Kudos to the excellent work done by the young artistas, especially Lerman as the fragile Charlie. Growing up is usually painful, and gentle souls like Charlie are particularly sensitive to the pain of others, in addition to their own. Chbosky has crafted a fine cinematic interpretation of his novel, which I shall now read. And by "now," I mean "possibly eventually, when I carve out time."

Adieu, dears, adieu.

P.S. Waiting for our delayed copy of A Memory of Light, the final Wheel of Time novel. Amazon Prime, why has your two-day shipping failed us nowwww? Wah.

Popular posts from this blog

An International Women's Day Miracle!

Truly, International Women's Day is a special day. No, not because multitudes are out there rallying for our rights and giving voice to the powerless. It is because I won a gift card from a company raffle!


Let me explain why this counts as a minor miracle. You see, I never win anything. I answer every damned survey sent my way, participate in all the raffles, buy lottery tickets -- to no avail. This particular raffle occurred monthly, and I had been faithfully entering my name every month for two years, with no results. Finally, last month, I declared: "No more!" and unsubscribed from the mailing list -- but not before entering one final time, because why not.

Hah!

There's also some déjà vu at play here. You see, four years ago, I won a gift card from a company raffle. The one fracking time I won anything! I was elated! Shortly thereafter, also on International Women's Day, I was laid off from my job.

Sooooo...since the day's almost over, I guess I'm not…

Paint Nite!

Last night I joined the "Oops" Paint Nite event hosted by the Club Cafe in Back Bay. About 12+ people came to relax and have two artists guide them through painting this original work:


The point was not to slavishly duplicate "Oops" -- we were instructed to make it our own, to relax, and not to utter the words, "Mine sucks," "Can you do this for me?" or "I thought this was paint-by-numbers!"

Speaking of dashed hopes, I had assumed that wine was included. I had done something like this before, only it was in the morning and we all got mimosas. Not so here! While the artists were setting up, I schlepped over to the bar and was rewarded with a generous pour of Cabernet. Now I was ready.

The setup: Everyone got a 16" x 20" canvas, three paint brushes, and a palette (a paper plate) with red, yellow, blue, and white paint. One artist (Brian) had the microphone and would paint with us, while the other was the assistant (Kory) who wo…

Get Out (2017)

Get Out has a charismatic lead, a terrific soundtrack, and damn good cinematography. While it’s described as horror/comedy, it’s more disturbing/cringe-y than scary, and I mean that in a good way. This is an entertaining movie that’s also pretty effective as social commentary.

The film stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, a photographer who’s about to spend the weekend at his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parent’s house. Naturally, it’s in a secluded spot in the woods. When they get there, the awkwardness that might be expected from a first-time meeting gives way to a series of bizarre behaviors and interactions. While Chris initially takes it all in stride, it eventually becomes clear that there’s something sinister going on behind the scenes.

The acting and dialogue are highlights of the film, as is the camera work. In particular, Kaluuya’s eyebrows and head tilts are so expressive that the audience knows what’s going on in his head even as he politely brushes off eccentricities. A…