Wallflowers Do Blossom!

Thirty years ago, in high school, I was a wallflower and Ray was outgoing and fun (and he’s the one that went to a Catholic school)!   A wallflower is a loner or a shy person that doesn’t socialize or participate in activities at social events.

The only thing that I took part in during high school was reciting the creed in a Future Farmers of America (FFA) function my freshman year, only because it was required as part of the initiation process and then I opted out of FFA my final three years of high school.

The only things I thought about in high school were making straight-As and becoming a weatherman.  Look where both of those things got me.  🙂  Luckily, in college and beyond, I blossomed from an introvert to a very outgoing, public figure.

That is a good thing because I feel that confidence is something that I want to instill in my 11-year-old daughter, Gretel, as she goes through those ever-changing, drama-filled teen years!

Thursday night, Ray and I went to see the movie, “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” (now playing at the Rave Cinema in Davenport, Iowa, and in more than 700 theaters across the country).  And, it’s definitely a movie I suggest to parents with kids in  junior high or high school.  We may have forgotten just how bad or stressful high school really was and that it wasn’t always a blast.


The movie is based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Stephen Chbosky.  Luckily, when the movie was filmed last year in and near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the author also wrote the screenplay and directed the movie.

“Perks” follows Charlie, played by Logan Lerman, who’s biggest role has been playing demigod Percy Jackson in the series based on the books by Rick Riordan.  The first movie came out in 2010 and the sequel arrives in theaters next fall.

Charlie is a shy teenager beginning his freshman year of high school and he’s already counting down the days until he graduates from day one.  He writes letters to an anonymous person to express everything that happens in his life since he doesn’t feel that he can talk to his family.  His closest relative is his Aunt Helen and we see her in flashbacks.

At school, he develops a rapport with his English teacher, Bill, played with quiet subtly by Paul Rudd.  Bill encourages Charlie to read many classic literary works to expand the young man’s intellect.

In shop class, Charlie meets Patrick (Ezra Miller), a senior that is taking the class with the freshman because he’s such a cut-up that he can’t pass the course and move on.  We also learn that Patrick makes jokes about everything because he’s harboring his own secrets and heartbreak.

Last year, Miller starred in “We Need To Talk About Kevin”, which is still one of my favorite movies that I saw earlier this year.  He was even nominated for his performance in that chilling, psychological thriller that was grossly passed over by moviegoers and the Academy Awards.

The third of the major stars of the movie is also the biggest star in the movie.  Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” movie series.  This is her first starring role since leaving Hogwarts behind.

All three actors are very believable and you feel their joy and their heartbreak throughout the 102-minute movie.  You’ll laugh and you’ll want to cry and you’ll be thankful that you survived high school.

The movie follows Charlie as he meets Patrick and Sam (Watson) at a football game and he mistakenly thinks that Patrick and Sam are dating.  Actually, they’re step-brother and sister.  Charlie writes about going out afterwards to a diner with Patrick and Sam, a ride through the tunnel that becomes a focal point of the movie, Patrick’s love affair, Charlie getting his first kiss and his first relationship, and his falling in love with Sam.

The funniest scene in the movie is when the group attends a party and Charlie samples brownies at a stoner’s house.  While the laced treats allow Charlie to be honest with his feelings, it also hints at the darker past that haunts the quiet teen.

There’s also a Christmas scene in the movie and I definitely have a weakness for movies that feature my favorite season.

“The Perks of Being A Wallflower” is a powerfully charged, must-see movie this fall.

Along with “Argo”, it goes to show that Hollywood does produce some quality offerings.  Now, bring on “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty”.

GRADE:  B

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