Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

OK. I liked it. It wasn't perfect and I felt the middle and end part seemed disjointed. But if you like 80s music and the 1980s' teenage films then you'll probably like this film too. Heck, I'll watch it again.

"Wallflower" was set in the 1990s but makes a lot of use of 1980s music. In many ways it reminded me of the old John Hughes' movies, "Somekind of Wonderful", Breakfast Club", "Pretty in Pink" etc.  Its the usual story of a group of misfits in High School.

The main character - a geeky nerdy kid - goes to a new school and makes new friends with cool people - ie. the class clown played by the charismatic Ezra Miller (who could have been played by Jon Cryer aka "Duckie" if he was 20 years younger) and of course the pretty Emma Watson.

For Wallflowers they all have "colorful" backgrounds which I felt was a lazy way by the writers' to spark interest in the story. Its as if I'm watching Marvel's Uncanny X-Men.

- spoiler alert - don't read any further.

I didn't feel the childhood abuse background story of Charlie really did justice to the story. First off - I felt that the suggestion that someone who suffered from paedophilia can turn into the Incredible Hulk and beat up three school bullies who were twice his size as laughable. It got to a point when midway through the film I was seriously wondering whether Charlie wasn't stuck in a mental asylum dreaming the entire story all up.

The friendship between Charlie and Patrick (Nothing) was I felt one of the more interesting developments of the story - but the writers didn't seem to have the ability to expand it more than a WTF side-issue. Instead we have this childhood abuse trauma story being backscattered all the way through the film before it strikes the plot like the iceberg hitting the Titanic. Was it a plot device that was suppose to help make the character more sympathetic or to explain his supernatural powers? Or are broken things more interesting?

The story had a great question and answer - "Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we're nothing?" (answer) "We accept the love we think we deserve." They could have and should have run the theme of the story on just that eternal question, rather than branch off into Charlie's childhood trauma. I'm not belittling childhood victims but this sidestory didn't seem to help push the main story along.

I wanted to see more on Charlie's anguish and turmoil with Sam. That Sam's relationship with the Uni photographer ends just nicely for him to have a one-night stand with her came across as rather manufactured - almost fitting in with a school boy's fantasy.

So what's it all about? Pleasant tale of cliched characters. I liked the music though and the film had its moments. I liked the dance scene when Charlie meekly walked over to the dance floor to join and be accepted by Patrick and Sam. Come on Eileen - Lyrics  by the Dexys Midnight Runners. Awesome song.

I liked the moment Charlie gazed in wonderment at Sam (Emma Watson). Haven't we all dreamed such dreams?

I identified very much with Charlie in that regard. I was quite the misfit in school and I really wished I could have been friends with some of the coolest kids in school - I could if they didn't despise me so much. But we live and we learn and move on.

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