The Perks of Being a Wallflower

hermione emma watson 18

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

***

Innocence is overrated.

I don’t get why our culture romanticizes childhood innocence. It is understandable that young kids do not understand the stress and responsibility of adulthood. But I don’t see how this ignorance of reality is positive.

Maybe it is a good thing that I am not a parent, because I don’t think there is anything charming about innocence or childishness – even in children.

Kids themselves don’t romanticize innocence. When I was 14 and beginning high school, I hadn’t done anything fun or naughty and I certainly wasn’t proud of myself for that.

I didn’t consider myself innocent. I felt like I was utterly corrupt and just hadn’t had the opportunity to act on it yet.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a coming-of-age story about a young man who is ready to be corrupted.

Newcomer Logan Lerman stars as Charlie: a shy teenager who is starting high school in suburban Pittsburgh in 1991.

Why 1991? Maybe because it gives writer/director Stephen Chbosky the opportunity to give the movie a cool soundtrack full of Smiths songs.

Or maybe because if you set a movie about teenagers in the present, it would be two hours of nothing but girls hunched over their iPhones looking at Facebook while their boyfriends are playing Call of Duty 4 on xbox360.

The film follows Charlie’s freshman year. On the first day of school, Charlie is basically a blank slate: no friends, no confidence, and no fun.

Before long, Charlie falls in with the wrong crowd. Not hoodlums who commit crimes. Even worse: outcastes who perform reenactments of Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday night.

Still, geeky friends are better than zero friends. Charlie’s best friends Patrick and Sam (“Harry Potter”‘s Emma Watson) take Charlie under their wing. They take him to his first party and introduce him to drugs. From Patrick, Charlie learns about homosexuality. From Sam, he learns about first love.

Director Stephen Chbosky (who also wrote the novel on which the film in based) does a good job of reminding us of the traumas of high school. Though the problems you have in high school seem huge at the time, Chbosky also does a good job of reminding viewers that they are just normal stepping stones on the road to adulthood.

Unless you drop out or get pregnant, what happens to you in high school isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things.

So, that said, I don’t really understand what the point of the movie is. Except perhaps to say that every teenager – no matter how quiet and innocent – has problems. But you already knew that.

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