Nostalgia’s a real tough bitch to calm. No matter how deep down in the landfills the past gets, we seem preset to look back on it as a beautiful night of snowfall. The only problem is that that those snowflakes bring frigid air and terrible living conditions with them. Hardly a reconcilable trade-off.
But like an ever-traditional opening to a pathetically sarcastic-yet-serious article, my point is that some of us wish the past could be relived. This exact feeling is what drove home the Chbosky novel-turned-film The Perks of Being a Wallflower for me. A tale of a high school freshman meets high school seniors (we all know how probable that is), the film wastes literally no time assuring us this isn’t another shallow attempt at coming of age. Rather, with a proper use of narration to show and tell us what’s going on–as well as what formerly happened, we’re taken on a gradual journey that refuses to let go.
It might seem a crazy comparison, but I’d group The Perks of Being a Wallflower with films like Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy in that there comes a point you just don’t want it to end. Instead of making your viewing a visit, you want it to be a permanent stay. Exactly like those twisted lies that are your memories. Speaking of which, without specifically giving anything away, this becomes a bit of a recurring theme, though not initially in the way the film lets on.
The characters here are about as authentic as they can get, nailing all sorts of personality types and (not so) general cutouts. Looking back, it’s a movie I’m not quite sure which character I liked the most. I mean yeah, I know which two I identify with the most, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best characters, per se. And this is just part of what makes the film so strong, resonate and memorable. That is, there’s always someone to root for and think about from more than just an observational standpoint. It’s also proof that not all young people are thin-layered embodiments of stereotypes; most people aren’t. This film, much like a (good) John Hughes picture, does justice to the conflicts of the more inexperienced but equally human individuals.