'Wallflower' Provides Whimsical Insights Into Teen Troubles
Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
“We accept the love we think we deserve.” Charlie’s teacher utters this phrase when asked why people constantly choose to be with those who mistreat them. This incredibly accurate insight into the human soul is the most memorable moment of the film, and one of the many lines that make this screenwriting job so impeccable. The beautiful transparency with which all the characters and dialogues are constructed is a reflection of this movie’s infallible harmony between the writing, directing, and acting. This film not only entertains the audience in a comical and endearing way, but it forces the viewer to sit and reflect on his or her own life as well – a much sought-after feature in a film, yet also one that most are not able to achieve.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, based on the novel by Stephen Chbosky, is a story about the bittersweet confusion of early teenage years. Charlie (Logan Lerman) is an incredibly intelligent high school freshman who spends more time with literary characters than actual human beings. He is an awkward kid—a wallflower who observes and understands people, but is always too shy to participate. After a series of troubles in his home life, he begins high school in a less than desirable manner, with no friends and no courage to socialize. At first, the only person who realizes Charlie’s true potential is his English teacher, Mr. Anderson. Although Charlie has no friends, he has this significant role model on whom he can rely. His whole outlook on life shifts when he meets two seniors who bring him into their friend group, and Charlie finally begins to feel like he belongs. His story turns into one of love, loss, and the immeasurable value of friendship.
When Charlie meets this quirky group, he notices that he is no longer alone. Sam, played by Emma Watson, particularly stands out to him. They form a deep connection, and he instantly finds himself enthralled by her. Lerman’s excellent acting makes this relationship seem painful and bittersweet in the way that platonic love often is. Their bond seems so real that Watson’s failure to produce an American accent can almost be forgotten by the time the movie ends.
The synopsis of this film does not do it justice, and neither does the trailer. In the film, the essence of each character is perfectly captured. The whimsical nature of their lifestyle is contagious. This movie makes the viewer look inward and examine each of his or her own personal relationships and what they mean. The stark truth of the story can be attributed to the fact that while it is an adaptation, the film was both written and directed by Chbosky. Many times, a story can get filtered down to only a sliver of its true essence if passed along from hand to hand. This is not the case with Wallflower. This group of eccentric, quirky characters makes the audience wish to know them in real life. The kids are both deep and troubled, and their dialogue is exceptionally witty and clever. Watching a scene is almost like being in a room hanging out with them, observing, as if the viewer himself is the wallflower.
The film ended with applause from the packed audience, and deservedly so. The story is so genuine and meaningful that it is difficult to think of someone who could not relate to any of its characters or situations. The end of this movie calls for a period of personal reflection. No one is perfect, everyone feels lonely and helpless sometimes, and it is the people we choose to surround ourselves with that really make life count. It is important to pick the right ones. We accept the love we think we deserve.