A few weeks ago, The Perks of Being A Wallflower came out on DVD.
The day it came out I had some unexpected time off, so I decided to go pick up a copy because I was in the mood to watch a movie by myself (a rare feat), and I had loved it when I saw it in theaters. The movie, of course, is based on the novel of the same name by Stephen Chbosky. I read the book my sophomore year of college, which is later than most, but it still struck a profound chord. It had been on my list of books to read for a while because I had heard it was similar to The Catcher in the Rye, which is far and away my favorite novel.
Often times when a book–especially one you love–becomes a movie, the visual version is a bit disappointing. (I’m looking at you, Harry Potter.) It’s hard to override what you’ve seen in your own imagination for so long with someone else’s interpretation. This movie though, was completely faithful to the novel, as the screenplay was written by Chbosky himself. It is a beautiful story full of well-rounded characters who are simply trying their best to maneuver their paths through the scary world that is high school. The actors, too, played the characters to a T (minus Emma Watson’s sometimes questionable accent..).
The story is honest and it is true.
Every generation has a high school movie that defines it.
In the 80’s there was The Breakfast Club (and pretty much every other John Hughes movie..).
For the two of you who have never seen The Breakfast Club, it centers around a group of high schoolers who are all required to attend detention one Saturday for a collection of reasons. There is the jock, the basket case, the rebel, the nerd, and the popular rich girl (played by the John Hughes muse, Molly Ringwald). Throughout the story the characters begin to realize that perhaps that have a little more in common than they originally expected, and form a lasting bond. (Cliches on cliches on cliches).
While the movie is a classic, the characters are stereotypical characatures. People are more dynamic in reality than they’re given credit for in the movie. However, I’m not going to hate on a movie that people love so much.
Anyway, in the 90’s there was 10 Things I Hate About You.
It was another movie about the outsiders in high school trying to fit in. There was the nerdy boy (played by Joseph Gordon Levitt!) who tried desperately to get the attention of the social climber, the Heath Ledger “bad boy” character, and the Julia Styles “I’m over high school” character.
In the 90’s there were actually about a million high school-centered movies that all dealt with similar themes (She’s All That, Never Been Kissed, etc.) but we’ll ignore those. Nothing beats 10 Things I Hate About You because nothing tops this poem.
With each new generation comes a new target to speak to. It is my true belief that The Perks of Being A Wallflower is that defining high school movie for Generation Y. And it should be.