Release Date: 2012
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Why I picked this: It looks like something I personally can relate to
A coming-of-age film following a high school freshman, this movie contains some of the common cliches of high school, yet still manages to be very relatable and personal. Logan Lerman plays Charlie, said high school freshman; Charlie is introverted and shy, and Lerman plays him very well. He brings Charlie to life and the audience feels some satisfaction when he succeeds. There are a few particular scenes where I could see myself in him; I felt anxiety just as he did just from watching the movie. Of course, he doesn’t always makes the best decisions, but he never really did anything that made him unsympathetic. Lerman’s body language is subtle and effective, displaying his nervousness and awkwardness. After struggling during his first few days of school, he finds himself befriending two seniors, Patrick, played by Ezra Miller, and his stepsister Sam, played by Emma Watson. Ezra Miller is the standout in the principal cast; Patrick is showy, unfiltered, and very outspoken. He goes through an interesting character arc, starting off as described, but showing a more vulnerable side later in the movie. Emma Watson is very charming as Sam, who Charlie becomes smitten with. It was initially hard to concentrate on her performance through her American accent, but audiences will be won over her perceptive and loving character. This movie was designed to be a very faithful adaptation of the novel which it is based on; it is written and directed by the author, Stephen Chbosky. The script is sharp and runs at a nice pace, and I really enjoyed the visual direction. There is a great tunnel shot that begins the movie that foreshadows one of the memorable scenes of the movie; clever camerawork, editing, and a great soundtrack are used to show Charlie’s nervousness, confusion, and stress. There are scenes in which Charlie has “blackouts,” and other scenes where he has flashbacks about his aunt killed in a crash, all which are well edited. There is one scene in particular near the end that was more intense than what I expected from the film. The themes of the film is what should hit home for most viewers. It contains basic themes of love and happiness, but the movie delves into what we deserve, how happy we deserve to be, and what we want from life, and whether or not it is worth making others happy at your own expense. It has an interesting perspective on loneliness; it is by far the biggest problem that Charlie suffers, and his friends go through lengths to show him that he is never alone. And one of the movie’s more important themes is to simply enjoy the moment; I’d be surprised if there is someone who couldn’t find a lesson from watching this movie.
Its depiction of the high school experience isn’t anything unique; what is unique is its take on various social aspects of high school. The direction and acting are very good, making for an emotional and personal coming-of-age film.