Firecracker and I watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower last night. As many said, it was much better than I expected, especially from an MTV film. It confronts matters of abuse in a realistic manner that doesn’t use them for plot points. I’ve been in a kind of gut-twisted haze ever since watching it. It triggered something, either by capturing the crowded alienation of high school, or by depicting a survivor being hit with a PTSD episode so damn well.
It uses music to great effect. It’s set in the early ’90s, and I graduated in ’89, so the music was very familiar. And I was very glad that the director–who also wrote the book the movie is based on–didn’t harp on ’80s fashion to evoke the era. It’s all quite subtle, and realistic. Maybe it was a bit too much. I don’t know. The movie isn’t perfect, I never got a three-dimensional feel for Charlie, the narrator. We dive right into the first day of school. But perhaps that is the story’s power, that it left Charlie sketched-in just enough to be a person but also a shell that I could inhabit, and recognize so much of myself in.
Needless to say, I’ll be reading the book soon. I recommend the movie, just be ready for the ending. It is not graphic, it doesn’t have to be. The director affected me more with a simple hand on a knee than books full of detail could have.