Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie review

Hey everybody! Happy...what day is it again? Just kidding, sort of. All of the days have been blending together because I haven't been working. Great news though, tomorrow's my birthday and the Verizon FiOs guy is coming today so we can finally finally finally have up to speed internet! 

I wrote a post the other day about what I've been reading and such, and I knew I needed to do a separate review for The Perks of Being a Wallflower because it was such a good movie and covered so many topics that are important. Before you read, know that if you haven't seen the movie, below this point there will be SPOILERS!

First off, I like how the movie talks about mental disorders and mental health. The movie starts off with the protagonist coming back from a stay in a rehab/mental health facility, but we get the impression that he's not totally well or totally comfortable with himself and the way his brain is working. He is a loner, and he is also worried about starting high school and that he's going to start "blanking out" again. We do not know why he had to stay in the hospital, but he doesn't seem to be comfortable with himself at all. Perks manages to portray his mental health issues in a positive light but makes them realistic enough so that if somebody who had mental health problems was watching, they would be able to relate to him. The viewer is also given a good explanation of how someone with a mental illness copes day to day and the struggles and small triumphs that they might go through. Every day can be a struggle, and the movie portrays that beautifully. It does not shame Charlie, but rather portrays honestly what he goes through and how he deals with it. In the end of the movie, when he is in a very bad place mentally because he remembers that his favorite aunt had molested him as a child, he willingly goes for help and the viewer sees him coming out for the better. 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower also showcased the struggles of being a teenager without painting them as silly, vapid, or insignificant. All of the struggles Sam, Charlie, and Patrick, and Charlie's sister Candace go through are very real and anyone who has been a teenager in their life knows this. The movie gives a voice to young people in a very important way. So often are young people overlooked, their comments deemed as silly, they are told that they are too young to have an opinion, and then they start to believe it. Perks does the total opposite and shows the real struggles that teens go through every day and that there is no shame in it. It gives a voice to the students who were marginalized in high school and shows them coming into their own at the end of the movie with a glimmer of hope that yes, there is life after high school and what they went through is valid.

It also deals with many important issues such as self-love, homophobia, and abuse. Sam, Charlie's crush, has been taken advantage of by guys since she was 11 years old. She struggles with seeing herself in a positive light and wonders why her relationships aren't where she wants them to be. Charlie's teacher tells him "We accept the love we think we deserve", and Charlie tells Sam this. This is an important point for her because we see that although she knows it, she hadn't wanted to believe it until that point. Then we see that she starts to realize that she deserves better. Patrick, Sam's step-brother, is gay and he has accepted that in himself. The boy he is secretly dating, however, hasn't. His "boyfriend" is a jock on the high-school football team and doesn't want to admit to himself that he is gay. His father, when he catches them together, almost beats his son to death. The son turns on Patrick and calls him a "faggot" in front of everyone in the school cafeteria and Charlie steps up to defend his friend. Patrick is comfortable with himself, but he just doesn't have the opportunity to express it as freely as he'd like in small-town, PA. Charlie sees his sister Candace fighting with her boyfriend one night and her boyfriend hits her, but Candace tells Charlie not to tell mom and dad. Charlie doesn't, but the best part is that Candace does break up with her boyfriend towards the end of the movie. I love how Candace took things into her own hands and got out of what could have been an abusive relationship.

Honestly, there were so many good things about this movie and this is just a few. Definitely watch it and determine for yourself. The cinematography is a bit strange and although it's apparently set in the late 90's the clothing and sets are fairly ambiguous as to when it was set (I had to look it up to find out). The music is great and the dialogue is amazing. Do yourself a favor and watch it - it might not bring back the best memories of high school but it will definitely help you interact with teenagers if you are a parent or older adult. If you just graduated high school, know that you are not alone and that you're going to have a fantastic time in college. 
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