We Are Young and In…Vincible

Am I being far too predictable? Maybe! But I really can’t help it that I really enjoyed the movie and I loved rereading the book. Why yes, I have read the book before I have even heard of it being made into a film. Does that make me a hipster?

I really have to say that The Perks of Being a Wallflower has got to be one of those really special stories for me because I read the book twice. I don’t really do that anymore nowadays, but I did for this one. Admittedly, it’s for this Media Club I have with my friends (I actually chose this, both the book and the movie because of REASONS), but I think the other members were also excited for it too.

I watched the movie with my friend Elise and we did it before we read the book. I didn’t really know what to expect because I’ve always thought you shouldn’t go into a movie based on a book expecting it to be as good as the book. It just seems unfair to me, so I went in and watched. And was quite impressed by how well the movie was executed. The atmosphere and design was just appropriate, kind of with an indie-retro feel that for me fit the tone of the story very well. It’s a story based in the 90’s starring high school kids who weren’t like the obnoxious, dreamy kids you usually see in Hollywood movies. It’s not sparkly, even if you have Emma Watson and Logan Lerman right there, fresh from successes of huge, box office blockbusters. It all seemed very raw, real and honest which was just perfect.

The main three of the cast were all wonderful in different ways. I was really excited to see Patrick played onscreen and I was so glad that Ezra Miller did him such great justice. Patrick was supposed to be a free spirit with his own moments of darkness and confusion and I think Ezra Miller was able to give a powerful performance. It was Patrick right there and I wanted him to be my crazy, gay friend all over again. However, I still lament how he’s given such little screen time. I get it, it’s Charlie’s story, but Patrick, dude. Patrick needs to grace us with his individual brand of awesome. I still call Logan Lerman Percy Jackson and I still can’t get over the fact that this was the guy who played D’Artagnan in that horribly awesome steampunk-ish remake of The Three Musketeers, but boy was he amazing as Charlie. I read that he really prepared for the role and I think it showed. As you watch the movie, you can’t help but feel his awkwardness and his anguish as you get deeper and deeper into the story and Charlie went through his downward spiral. I think I’m a fan of his now and I look forward to his next project. Meanwhile, Emma Watson. I’ve seen her grow up as Hermione Granger and I was kind of fearful that we’d see Hermione onscreen instead of Sam. Thankfully that wasn’t the case. I guess it helped that she had short hair and she talked in a charming American accent. Her acting was very subtle. She left the over-the-topness to Ezra and Logan and I think that fit, but then she gets into these emotional scenes and BOOM! Her face. It can be so expressive and it looked so effortless.

Aside from the main cast, you also had other stars like Nina Dobrev, Paul Rudd and Joan Cusack. I don’t particularly know why they cast Nina Dobrev, but I guess she was okay. Maybe it’s just my Vampire Diaries prejudice, but she was really overtaken in this movie though she had some moments. I couldn’t say the same for Paul Rudd and Joan Cusack, though, because seriously, if these two are in a movie, you have to be sure that it’ll be good. And it was.

It was just amazing to see the book come alive before my eyes and to touch me in the deepest pits of my usually apathetic heart. People have probably heard of the “We are infinite.” scene and yes, the movie was able to capture the essence of it very well. I certainly felt that infinite-ness after everything was done.

After finishing with the movie, I soon started re-reading the book. I took the time to actually take notes this time, however, instead of just devouring it in huge chunks whenever I could like the first time I read it. And enhanced by the experience of the movie, the book was quite different the second time around. There was a lot that I missed, things made clearer and it was like I haven’t read the book the first time. Maybe because it’s been a while since my last reading of it.

The first thing I noted was that I think I loved the book from the start because it was very intimate as it was written in a stream of¬†consciousness, diary kind of style that was very candid yet quirky. It felt to me that Charlie was really being honest about his thoughts and he felt that almost no censure was necessary¬†when he wrote to this friend. It’s also a chockful of quotes that just hits you right there, like “Sometimes, people use thought not to participate in life,” “You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand,” “We accept the love we think we deserve,” and of course, “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” You can see how these quotes communicate ideas that a lot of people can relate to. That idea and feeling of passiveness about life in general and how people fall in love are themes that are very heavy in the story and I think a lot of people can relate to no matter how old they are. I’m no teenager but they still resonate with me so that must mean something. The book (and of course also the movie) also brought back things that I want to do again, like making mixed tapes and Secret Santa. My world was certainly different from Charlie, Patrick and Sam’s, but some things were still similar and I liked that a lot. ‘Made me feel all nostalgic.

Reading the book also made me see that a lot of things that weren’t included in the movie, which was kind of sad but then you can’t really fit everything in a movie that’s only an hour and a half long. And of course, there are differences between the movie and the book, too. The movie focused more on Charlie and that was probably the point since he is the wallflower, isn’t he? And it’s his story so it made sense.

I finished reading the book earlier today and I look forward to talking about it more later with my friends when we meet for that Media Club meeting. In the end, I have to say that I have really enjoyed the experience The Perks of Being a Wallflower has brought me. I was touched, also energized in a way and that usually meant that something was good. There’s also nothing quite like taking the time to enjoy something the second and third time around. Maybe in the future, I’ll take another crack at the book and then find something else new. I think I will because I think this is one of the stories that have really left an impact on me between one thing or another. It reminded me of being young and feeling invincible at times even when it felt like nothing was going right and there was so much to fear. I think we should all somehow hold on to that feeling of being, well, infinite even when the world thinks it should throw us curve balls all the time. We need it, especially the older we get and the more complicated problems come our way. Let’s not forget about being young and infinite, because we can be, even if we don’t look it.