“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
– Mr Anderson
Charlie Kelmeckis (Logan Lerman) is starting his freshman year of high school, something that makes him nervous and unhappy. He desperately wishes that high school was over. Charlie has no friends and is a little awkward and awfully shy, withdrawn and quiet. He is dealing with some things from the past, noticeably his friend’s suicide as well as his Aunt Helen’s (Melanie Lynskey) death. Mr Anderson (Paul Rudd), the English teacher, takes to Charlie and attempts to encourage him to participate more. Charlie, naturally, does not, though he does take on a lot of reading projects in his free time for Mr Anderson. Charlie wants to be a writer one day, and Mr Anderson is doing what he can to encourage it. Charlie eventually befriends Patrick (Ezra Miller), and meets his stepsister Sam (Emma Watson). He has an amazing night, proving to him that there are nice people out there.
At a high school dance, he plucks up the courage to dance with Patrick and Sam, and they all get along just fine. They go out to a house party when they leave the school dance, and Charlie unwittingly eats a space cake (or cannabis brownie for those not in the know) and gets high. He reveals that his best friend committed suicide the year before. He discovers that Patrick is gay and seeing football jock Brad (Johnny Simmons), yet swears to be silent. Sam realises that Charlie has no other friends and he is touched when Patrick dedicates a toast to him seeing as he was sure that he would not be noticed. He becomes a part of their group. He is quiet, observant and really wants everyone to be happy. Sam is upset with her SAT score, and Charlie swoops in to help her get the score that she needs to get into Pennsylvania State University. Charlie is in love with Sam, and unhappy that she continually dates idiots. Eventually, he turns to Mr Anderson for some advice, which he is granted. Charlie’s parents, Mr (Dylan McDermott) and Mrs Kelmeckis (Kate Walsh) are thrilled to see that Charlie is seeing people some more and getting out there.
The group has a lovely little Secret Santa organised, and they all share wonderful gifts. Though not his Santa, Sam gives him a beautiful vintage typewriter to write with. Sam shares some deep dark secrets with Charlie about her youth and kisses him to make sure his first kiss will be from someone who loves him, even though she has a boyfriend. Charlie is convinced he is going to ask Sam out on New Year’s. Instead, he ends up in hospital after taking LSD and passing out in the snow while thinking of his deceased aunt. Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman), one of their friends, asks Charlie to a dance after he joins in a the Rocky Horror Picture Show performance that the group does together, and then soon decides that they are dating. Charlie is in a bad place because he wants to be with Sam, but Mary Elizabeth has taken over and is domineering. He has no idea how to end things with her, and splinters the friends group when at a truth and dare game he is dared to kiss the prettiest girl in the room and kisses Sam. Charlie is once again alone, and it seems now more than ever he needs his friends, though they will have nothing to do with him.
During his exile, Patrick and Brad break up due to Brad’s father catching them together and beating Brad to a pulp. Things are getting bad at school, and Charlie is on the outlines of all. However, when Patrick gets into a violent fight at school, Charlie steps in to fix things. His life is falling apart and he has so much going on that he cannot explain. He needs his friends. Charlie renders the group of Patrick’s attackers useless, and they are scared. Will his helping Patrick restore the friendship group? Will Sam get into Pennsylvania State University? Will Patrick survive the breakup with Brad? Will Mary Elizabeth ever get over what happened between them? What is going on in Charlie’s life that he cannot put his finger on? Will Charlie be able to let his group of friends go and them move onto college without him while he is left behind?
A 7.5/10 for The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I keep hearing good things about this and keep having it recommended to me and finally I relented and watched it after Natasha got overly insistent, and I am glad that I did. It was a very good movie, something I did not really expect when I watched it. I don’t really know anything about the content; I have tried to remain oblivious so as not to build expectations or anything. It is sad to see the lives these teens have, yet sweet at the same time to see how they band together in an effort to find a way to make their lives work. Patrick was just adorable, and they cast Ezra Miller incredibly well to portray the character. Emma Watson was good in here, yet I am as of yet still oblivious as to why she is so obsessed over… can someone possibly enlighten me? I felt so sorry for Charlie, he was such a sad and lonely soul, so incredibly awkward. I felt incredible amounts of pity for him, and I was so happy when he finally got a group of people he could come together with and be around, making him happy. The relationship between him and Sam was always complicated, always on the periphery, and I knew things were getting a bit out of hand when Mary Elizabeth decided that Charlie was now her boyfriend. Dylan McDermott entertained me no end as Charlie’s father. Each one of these kids has their own story and each of them is just trying to stay together and keep on keeping on, and it gets difficult. For sure, there are a lot of snot nosed teens out there whinging and whining about petty things, but on the other hand there are a few that have some serious issues that throw them into a more adult and mature place, whether willing or not. Paul Rudd really nailed that inspiring and caring teacher role as Mr Anderson. I really do appreciate him as an actor. This movie is definitely worth looking into, and is definitely not the same totally absurd still one comes to expect from a coming of age film.