I’ve never heard of this movie or the book up until a facebook friend posted the trailer on his wall. It was around July. And it single-handedly awoke the avid teen movie person that I was. September really came up fast this year. On the 26th of this month, at opening day, there I was, watching the deepest and emotionally sentimental teen movie I’ve ever witnessed, in classic lone-city-dweller style (alone, last full show, office clothes, in ergonomically-designed movie chairs). Other movies watched in the same manner were The Hunger Games and Marvel’s The Avengers (in IMAX).
I must admit, I have an uncanny fascination for movies & tv series dwelling on high school stuff. You know, the kinds that would almost always have scenes in cafeteria talking about the cool kids, and there will be football games put in somewhere, and then have a prom finale of some sort. Yea, those stuff. My top favorite will be a toss between Tina Fey-written Mean Girls and Academy Award-winning Juno. The former stars the good Lindsay Lohan, who’s the alter-ego of today’s troubled Lindsay Lohan while the latter stars Ellen Page, who would later incept our minds in dreams within dreams within another dream. I do agree that high school is one of those monumental periods in your life, admit it or not. But I am not certain why I have ‘this’ kind of fascination for it. Maybe I was trying to understand how high school would look like if I have not went through it the same way that I did. How would exams look like if I don’t know the answers? How would lunch feel like if you don’t have friends? How would prom look like if you’re just a wallflower?
The movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower visually answered all my queries, in the most emotional and nostalgic way I could possibly imagine. It was beautifully acted by Logan, Emma & Ezra; so good that they brought me to an entire world in the 1 hour and 45 minutes I was in the theater. I even forgot it was looking at Hermione and Percy Jackson. Patching in the movie was the book’s original author Stephen Chbosky, directing a feature film for the first time. Also, I knew then that I was in for a treat since it was the same producers who brought Juno to the world.
Set in the 1990’s (my era), it was a coming-of-age movie about a boy’s first year in high school. He battles the typical teen movie antagonists of bullies and awkward alone lunch moments. His first saving grace is Bill, his English teacher, who saw his smarts beyond his being introvert. Then came the senior duo of Patrick & Sam, who brought Charlie to the high school life as seen through their eyes. From then on, the movie brought scenes upon scenes of love, awakening, sexuality, drugs, violence and mystery in an artistic way, climaxing to a very moving breakdown scene which is by far Logan’s finest acting yet. For the first time in a long time, I wished for the credits not to appear; I don’t want the movie to end at all. It was that good.
In one of her interviews, Emma said that you cannot watch this movie without saying that there isn’t one moment you cannot relate to. She’s damn right. I may not have a troubled childhood like Charlie, thanks to my amazing family, but I can definitely relate to his introvertness. The feeling that you just cannot express yourself that you just resort to communicating through silence. You write words and letters to someone you don’t know, hoping you get a connection somehow. And you tell yourself not to cry when you already are. Both Charlie & I survived those moments, with me bypassing the drug and alcohol part. We were both saved by friends, who saw and accepted us who whoever we were when others just don’t. Should Charlie’s story went through, I bet he will be friends with Sam & Patrick for years and years, the same way I kept my high school friends until now.
It’s been said that the book became life-savers of people facing challenges in high school. The movie should be doing the same. As I look back on my past, it isn’t so bad and depressing that nobody notices you. It’s that moment of invisibility and omniscience you see the world in ways no one else can – only through the eyes of a wallflower.