The Perks of Being a Wallflower


There I was, relishing the pubescent exploits of three very interesting and refreshingly offbeat characters of Charlie, Sam and Patrick as they "participate" in every way amidst the slippery slopes of high school and totally missing the subtle clues of what is really "wrong" with our boy wallflower, Charlie. And just like that, towards the end, when I finally get Sam's reservations on Charlie's amour de jeunesse, which, by the way, is so painstakingly restrained and  only existed in clichéd purity and idealism, the subtle yet explosive revelation of the true dark nature of Charlie's psychological turmoil has taken me aback. I was feeling Charlie and his mild, sweet demeanor, because I was a wallflower too (at least during my "tender" years!).  But the bubble that kept me encapsulated in a dreamy state of ideal friendships and youthful exuberance popped (bam!) and knocked me down yet again into my usual cynicism towards life. In spite of it, I still felt "infinite," for whatever that means. Why shouldn't I? The movie seems to be telling something profound. And I felt it as the characters figured their way out into their rite of passage. It's decent enough so I reserve any acerbic opinion towards it. One critic from put it rather appropriately, "Somehow, these imperfections fit. Somehow, "The perks of Being a Wallflower" shouldn't be flawless."
This movie is a breather from the usual coming-of-age genre in the tradition of Mean Girls and Clueless. It's more bohemian than that. The story brought to life some memorable characters that defy stereotypes and made it look cool to just be. Case in point - Patrick. How many gay characters have we stumbled upon who's as blithe, smart, cool, dauntless and unapologetic as him. He's way ahead of his time. He did not drown us on the usual gay melodrama and transfix us on equating the words "gay" and "victim." Occasionally, he gets lost just like the rest of us but remains as strong and uniquely-charming gay persona that I don't usually see depicted on film.

"I'm below average!" Now, isn't that liberating, Patrick?!
Charlie is another story. On the surface, he's the exact opposite of Patrick's extroverted stance. But his introversion is never boring though. It gives us an element of surprise every time he strips off a layer to reveal the person within. He is the kind that you'll most likely end up being BFF with. "He sees things and he understands." Patrick couldn't be more right with the introduction.  

Sam is the misunderstood textbook definition of a slut with low self-esteem, as the Mean Girls would readily dissect it.  But far from being it, she is struggling to keep it together and get pass through high school with renewed sense of rebuilding herself. I specially like her relationship with music as she channels it to access the deep recesses of her soul.  She's the bohemian vibe of the movie.

Every relevant film has an iconic scene, this might be it for The Perks.
What is a teen flick without amazing sound track?! It's the 90s alternative music brought to life. Yey! I'm a 90s kid. It was a full nostalgia down the memory lane with every song played on film (e.g. Heroes by David Bowie, Asleep by The Smiths, Daydream by Smashin' Pumpkin and Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel). And the more recent one like It's Time by Imagine Dragons (my new favorite band) is just as soulful. 

And then there's one statement, quotable and all, that sealed-in the deal.  "We only accept the love we think we deserve." Ouch!  With this, I officially love this movie!


Zion Campo said…
napanood ko rin ang Perks of Being a Wallflower and I could totally relate...

minsan, sinasabi ko sa sarili ko, I wish I was that free spirited when I was in high school..

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