Justin Peterson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Recommended by: Marvin123
A near-perfect life in high school movie that somehow passed me by.
"And you're listening to that song and that drive with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment I swear, we are infinite."
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the few films I can recall that right from the opening act had me totally loving this experience of getting an inside look at the lives of these teens. But then that almost got completely ruined by how much of a bummer its extra-extra-long third-act slump is. But it did thankfully reel me back some by the end to at least make it a film that I loved, when it could have been one that I adored.
"Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we're nothing? ... We accept the love we think we deserve."
(Quick Hits) ... Spoilers:
- While I liked Charlie overall, he did majorly piss me off twice!
1. Do not be talking smack about marching band kids having letter jackets! Mine was one of my most prized possessions as a trumpet player
2. For me Mary Elizabeth > Sam! I know Charlie saw it the other way, but you cannot pass up a girl that wants to take you to go see 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari'. Plus I dig Mary Elizabeth's emo look
- What really pulled me at the beginning was the whole narrated journal style where he starts out alone, and then meets his awesome group of senior friends. It reminded me a lot of how I felt going to college and not feeling like I fit in until I became best friends with my fraternity brothers
- I was not really into 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' the first time I saw it. I guess I should give it another chance
- So the movie slumps for me when he gets pushed into dating Mary Elizabeth, but refuses to let his crush on Sam go. This gets even worse when he gets rejected by his friend group by kissing Sam right in front of her
- Hats off to how amazingly loveable Ezra Miller is in this, compared to how terrifying he was in 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'
- Charlie definitely redeems himself by knocking down those jocks ganging up on Miller's character
- Talk about perfect casting with Tom Savini as the shop teacher
- Charlie's relationship with his English teacher played by Paul Rudd was awesome, and made me reminisce about my time taking AP Literature my senior year. Plus I really need to break down and read that 'The Catcher in the Rye' book
- The film does an excellent job at giving us just an indication of Charlie's past trauma, but not giving us enough of a picture to fully understand it. All along we think Charlie's aunt was this great person, until it finally shows him accepting the fact that she apparently molested him
- The movie does not make it that obvious that it is a period piece other than the fact that the Penn State game looked really old on tv, and their obsession with making mixed cassette tapes
- What an amazing feeling of freedom those scenes had of them standing up in the back of a truck, while going through a tunnel listening to awesome music
"I don't know if I will have the time to write any more letters because I might be too busy trying to participate."
When it comes to newer high school movies I would say that 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' edges this one out. But The Perks of Being a Wallflower will certainly be one I will want to revisit with high schoolers in my family. Who knows, maybe I will come around on that bummer section next time.
Thanks for reading.
Happy movie watching ... Cheers! 🍻