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My 2012 End-of-Year List of One

Maybe you, like me, have a tendency to get stressed by all the top-ten lists that emerge at the end of the year. The lists are usually filled with books you must read, dishes you must try, restaurants you must visit, movies you must see. Rather than inciting enthusiasm for the possibility of adventure or entertainment, the lists often impart feelings of regret for all that that you could have experienced, but didn’t. Soon anxiety replaces your sense of loss because somewhere between number seven and three you decided you must pack it all in before the list writer deems you unworthy. If you’ve read all the way to number two you eventually toss the whole thing aside. “Fuck the list.” I’m trying not to impose the same thought process, so I’ve made my own must-see-movie list simple. It is a list of one: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The trailer didn’t entice me at all, so once you’ve read this review don’t turn off your viewing device with the relief of knowing that yet again, you don’t have to carry through with what another silly list maker suggests. (You do.) After conducting some research, I discovered that some reviewers gave the movie tepid reviews, so don’t listen to them, either.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower centers around Charlie, a teenager entering his freshmen year of high school after the suicide of his best friend. As the first act builds we are given glimpses of the people who surround him, his family, his friends, his teachers. We sympathize with Charlie without filling sorry for him. Many high school movies have come before, but this one does a good job of not falling into old, familiar territory. We can relate to Charlie because his struggles seem real and he is filled with tender passion. Most other high school dramas cast characters as one-dimensional. In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the familiar caricatures don’t materialize. And, unsurprisingly, the students who become his friends don’t hail from the popular crowd, yet their alternative lifestyle is celebrated rather than depicted as “weird.” ”

Stephan Chbosky, the screenwriter and author of the best-selling book, which the film originated from, seems to know these characters well. So well in fact, that after viewing, I thought I could learn more from the book and enjoyed reading it just as much.Thankfully we don’t have to depend on movie critics for Oscar nods. It’s an Oscar candidate for best-adapted screenplay and I’m confident that the movie might just win. Don’t write off my list. Go see The Perks. Its not to be missed. (Neither is the spunky Ezra Miller, who plays Patrick, Charlie’s friend or the sweet Emma Watson—without English accent—who plays Patrick’s sister, Sam.)

Keep in mind that the making of movie trailers is an art unto itself and sometimes the artist misses the mark. Such is the case for the trailer below for The Perks of Being a Wallflower. My advice so to skip it and go straight to the theater (or to your favorite rental stream).

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