Today I saw The Perks of being a Wallflower. I don’t think I had read any reviews for it, but I’d seen some positive remarks from a few critics I like on twitter and a lot of people I know had seen it and spoke of it highly, so I figured I’d do well to check it out. I didn’t think I’d enjoyed it that much as I left the theatre, but it’s stayed with me. I found it fairly uneven, but the ending worked and the ending is the conceit as they say. I don’t know. I think most of the bits I didn’t like were the result of me getting caught up on minor details that don’t really matter. I think I’m going to have to see this again at some stage. Maybe I’ll read it as intended the second time round. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts on the movie; do try to makes sense of them:
Paul Rudd is really good. He manages to give his role a lot of weight with barely any screen time. He shows depth I’ve not seen of him before, but to be fair, I don’t think I’ve seen many of his movies, so I might be surprised over nothing. He was the stand-out performance for me. Probably not the best, but certainly my favourite, although Kate Walsh and Dylan McDermott are also great as Charlie’s parents and they hardly have five minutes worth of screen time between the two of them. I guess I like all the minor roles, huh?
Emma Waston is drop-dead gorgeous. Yeah.
The film’s set in the very early 90’s. I only kind of noticed this, because it struck as odd that everyone was making mix-tapes instead of sharing playlists. That’s pretty much the only thing that suggests this is a period piece. Although, later I realised that everyone uses cordless landlines instead of mobiles and I don’t think a single computer shows up in the film. There’s a difference of about 20 years between now and the film’s setting and it’s almost unnoticable. You show the difference of 20 years between any times from last century and the change is phenomenal. Has our culture come to a stand still? I don’t know, I’m just writing about a movie that I didn’t like that much, but probably should have.
You might have noticed from the two images I’ve shown that the film has this soap opera look. I guess it kind of looks like 90’s televison or something, which would make sense given the film’s setting. Even so, I’m not sure how much I dig it.
There’s too much hipster dialogue at the start of the film. I know I’m a terrible person for dismissing a film that does something slightly outside the mainstream by labelling it ‘hipster’, but the dialogue at the start really is too quirky. It all comes from Charlie’s new friends, so it’s supposed to present them as outside the mainstream, but still cool, which I guess it does, but the extent to which it’s done feels obnoxious-Never introduce a character by having them start a question with “Question:…”. The dialogue never gets as pretentious as “Welcome to the island of misfit toys” in the latter half of the film and I don’t think it needed to be at the start.
The C’mon Eileen bit is fantastic. The Heroes bit should’ve been, but I couldn’t ever get past the fact that none of them knew David Bowie. It even becomes their goal to find this unknown song that they heard on the radio that one time and it feels kinda dumb when a very large chunk of the audience is bound to recognise it instantly. I groaned everytime they mentioned the mystery song. It’s Heroes by David Bowie. It’s a really well known song from one of the most well known musicians in the world. I had also coincidentally been listening to the song on repeat non-stop for the past few days right before I saw this film. This probably has more than a little to do with my frustrations in their failure to recognise it.
I found Charlie to be an arsehole. I know he’s battling mental illness-the film probably gives the most realistic depiction of depression I’ve seen in a movie. Or rather, it best depicts my understanding of depression-and this gives Charlie a lot of leeway for acting like a dick, while still remaining sympathetic, but I found him to be a massive cock when he starts dating Mary-Elizabeth. I know all his criticisms of her are supposed to reflect what it’s like being on the unhappy end of a relationship, but he mostly sounds like he’s nitpicking a lovely girl WHO HE SHOULD’VE HAD THE DECENCY TO BE HONEST WITH FROM THE START. Also how hard is it to kiss your own girlfriend? “I dare you to kiss the prettiest girl in the room.” YOU KISS YOUR GIRLFRIEND. I DON’T CARE IF YOU’RE NOT HAPPY. YOU BREAK UP WITH HER IN BY TALKING LIKE A DECENT HUMAN BEING, NOT KISSING HER FRIEND IN FRONT OF HER YA DICK. On a slightly related note…
I would totally date Mae Whitman. Yeah.
And another thing; the film makes a big deal over Mary-Elizabeth liking old music to show that her tastes make her incompatible with Charlie. As someone who likes David Bowie AND Billie Holliday, I found this silly. Has Old El Passo taught us nothing? Porque no los dos?