Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower -- full disclosure, I never read the book. I own it, because I remember a lot of people in high school telling me how great it was and how important it was to them.  But I didn't get through the first 20 pages.  I don't think I hated it, I think I just picked a bad time to start reading a serious book. Anyway, I enjoyed the movie.  It was hard to watch -- very "Real-life," in the way that means "Sad."  I don't normally like that kind of movie, but they did a good job.  Even though I never read the book, I was glad to see that the original author also wrote the screenplay and directed.

There was a lot of stuff where I wonder if it was in the book or not, but since the writer wrote both, I don't think it matters much.  There's a recurring point, not really a plot point, but events, where an english teacher gives the main characters classic books, the kinds of books that make huge impacts on nerdy kids' lives.  I wonder if Stephen Chbosky was trying to write a book like that on purpose.

Spoilery reviewing below the fold.

I said before that this movie was sad, and that I don't normally like that.  I mean it was the kind of painful sad, where one of the major themes of the movie is "Sometimes, for some people, life just really sucks."  It's all about high school, and that's an easy setting for incredibly dark, painful stories.  It's a lot more believable (and, in consequence, more painful) that kids will screw things up the way they do in these kinds of movies than adults, like when Charlie kisses Sam in front of Mary Elizabeth.  That hurt a lot to watch.

I don't remember exactly when it happened, but I remember figuring out when I was in high school that, statistically, the fact that bad things happen to everyone sometimes means bad things happen to some people all the time.  And it's not that they bought it on themselves, or they're bad people, or they're doing something wrong.  It's just that every time you try to pick yourself up, there's a chance it will go horribly wrong.  So it's almost necessarily true that for some people, whenever they try to make their lives better, it will go horribly wrong.

But this isn't that kind of movie.  The message of this movie wasn't "Everything sucks," it was more like "It gets better."  Which is a super-important message.