Sunday, December 16, 2012

My week in films, 6

 The Perks of being a Wallflower
Directed and Written by Stephen Chbosky.

Films about young adults in high school and college are thousands. We can also describe them sometimes as coming of age films. I say sometimes because many of them don’t succeed at that point. That’s why I say there are different levels of these themed films. There are the Scary Movie, American Pie, Accepted, Project X teenage films, which in resume suck. There’s no depth, people are puppets and you kind of decide when you want to laugh. I don’t think I need to explain why they aren’t good films. Then there are reasonable ones. But there are many good films about these more often than not significant years. It is a special period and it is a great source material for a lot of unique stories. It is a rich theme because it is a transitional time in people’s lives that can be extremely meaningful. In between, there are the ones who stay timeless pieces, classics, these cult films.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a film that stands out in this genre and when a film like this one feels timeless it means something really good, at least to me it feels a little bit timeless. I mean timeless first and foremost because of the story it is told, because it just grabs the entire meaning of these stories, with beautiful, emotional and witty sensibility. There are no particular aspects that stuck this film to a very specific time. This is the story of a very reserved boy who looks for friendship and comfort in life and what makes this film transcend to something greater, it’s in the way it is driven. It is in the way Charlie, Sam and Patrick are taken, these people with strong personalities of their own, with dimensional reasons to be who they are and why they act the way they do. It is maybe timeless because it’s able to capture what’s essential in these moments, to feel, no, I’m not going to say infinite, but just that, to feel something. Which may be hard sometimes, may be hard to know how. Charlie, Sam and Patrick may have gone through a lot of learning, a lot of highs and lows, required and inevitable transitions, no one more particular than the other, but they have gone through their transition. And this is just one of many. There’s the transition of high school to college and the decisions that have to be made. But then in a blink of an eye they’ll be in their twenties and another transitional time comes and decisions will have to be made again. And another cycle begins. These periods of times vary deeply, I believe. Not all teenage lives go through college. High school may not mean anything to some. It’s fair to remember. But it’s no more or less relevant. Those would be other different stories. What’s important is that this is a film about friendship.

So I stand for this film as a liberating one. It is really liberating. You have Patrick, who is gay, but this is not about a gay teenager, it’s about a really feisty and a good mood teenager who is not afraid and sometimes rarely is afraid of being who he is. Charlie is not shy and awkward just to be cute; he is really reserved because it is the way his personality grew since he was a kid due to whatever particular circumstances. The same goes for Sam, who is not just the cute girl who makes other boys fall for her; she has her own obstacles to overcome. It seems a simple direction, doesn’t it? So is that all it takes for a film to be a better film? And yet, it is only so hard to achieve it. And yet this film stands out as one of the rare good ones. No one’s perfect, no one is a puppet. And therefore, you are able to be connected to these people, to their lives, to these misfit toys. Logan, Watson and Ezra Miller are wonderful in this film, what an unlike set of attractive and cool performances. It feels great when you can sense that they’re in control of the story they’re living in. Ezra Miller is a scene stealer, but not in a hardcore way! The film direction brings this unpretentious, quite subtle but right tone to the film. And it feels like a pretty consistent tone.
I think The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of my favorite films of the season.

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