On the grueling plane ride back from Portland, Oregon last week, I was sifting through my go-to plane magazine, Vanity Fair (I know you were all thinking SkyMall), and saw a posh photo spread of the main characters of the new indie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. When I saw that Emma Watson was one the stars I was instantly intrigued. Watson is so adorable I want to hit her and I was curious to see her play a role that didn’t involve frizzy hair and the phrase, “Expecto patronum."
I really wanted to see The Master this past Saturday but after reading several positive reviews of Wallflower, and the fact that I just got back from vacation and my brain was still a bit mushy, I decided to see a light-hearted comedy instead of something intense and mind-bending. (I will see The Master though; it looks phenomenal.)
Wallflower is essentially a tale of an anxious freshman named Charlie (Logan Lerman) who has the typical high school woes of a nerdy introvert. I have to say, one of my favorite lines in the movie is when Charlie takes a seat in his advanced English class and the girl sitting next to him says, “Nice Trapper Keeper, faggot.” Teens are such assholes and that line pretty much sums up his social status.
Things look bleak for Charlie until shop class when the hilarious Patrick (Ezra Miller) makes his debut. This is my first time seeing Miller in anything but it certainly won’t be the last. He is definitely a star on the rise. Performing a spot on imitation of their shop teacher instantly grabs the attention of Charlie, as well as, the audience. His character is definitely my favorite. Even though he has issues of his own, he helps people cope with theirs while providing comic relief. Patrick is a class clown, senior slacker, but not a Jeff Spicoli slacker (there was no ordering of pizza to a classroom). He is openly homosexual and enjoys doing renditions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in his spare time. He’s brilliant and I love him.
Getting back to the plot, Patrick has a delightful step-sister named Sam (Emma Watson) who is wise beyond her years and ends up being Charlie’s love interest. Patrick and Sam invite Charlie to his first party where he’s introduced to “the misfit toys” aka the other “alternative” senior companions of Patrick and Sam. Charlie finally has a circle of friends and his anxiety begins to dissipate.
Like most movies that are about high school, Wallflower has its stereotypical moments. However, the sexual themes in the movie are not typical and this is what makes Wallflower stand out. I’m not talking just homosexual, it’s-ok-to-be-gay themes like we see in the show, Glee. I’m talking Jerry Sandusky-statutory- rape type themes. The way the characters handled this molded their personalities and made for a wonderful character driven story.
Writer and director Stephen Chbosky (who also wrote the novel bearing the same title) does a wonderful job keeping things light during intense situations. This is super important in keeping your audience happy and engaged in the film from start to finish, and I definitely was.
Dark sexual themes aside, this movie makes you feel nostalgic about high school: S.A.Ts, driving around with friends, your first crush, experimenting with hallucinogens, the thrill of getting into college and the feeling that the world is at your finger tips.
Speaking of college, I went to Pitt and Wallflower was set in the great city of Pittsburgh. It was awesome to see shots of the characters driving through the Fort Pitt Tunnel and the breathtaking Pittsburgh skyline from Schenley Park (which happens to be my favorite spot in that city).
My only gripe is that not ONE character embraced the Pittsburgh accent! It’s called method acting. I know I sound like a bitchy theater teacher, however; if you have spent time in Pittsburgh, you get it. It’s the most unusual fucking thing I have ever heard. For example, when a normal person would say, “I need to vacuum the carpet,” someone from Pittsburgh would say, “I need to run the sweeper.” I’m serious. They call their beloved Steelers, “Dem Stillers.” Instead of saying “You guys,” they say, “Yinz.” As in, “Yinz want to come over and watch dem Stillers after I run the sweeper?” They also say their O’s weird. That one is kind of hard to explain. Watson needs to work on quelling her English accent, too. That’s ok; she’s so cute that it didn’t ruin the movie.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a wonderful matinee movie. I wouldn’t prioritize this movie for a Friday or Saturday night, but it’s definitely worth a visit to the theater. It also has a phenomenal soundtrack. It’s currently playing at the Landmark Cinema. Go and see it. I guarantee you’ll walk out of the movie with a smile on your face.
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