“I am very interested and fascinated how everyone loves each other, but no one really likes each other.” – Stephen Chbosky
(I have been procrastinating way too much lately. This review should’ve been written by me long ago. But then again, it’s never too late for anything. Or so I like to believe.)
For people who claim that movies based on novels never match up to the magic written words can create, here is a fair exception. Perks Of Being A Wallflower is an absolute breakthrough. It is as profound, deeply moving and eccentric as the book. I say this with as much conviction as I can. Having read and watched, I would not be able to separate one from the other. I think the primary reason for this is the author of the book Stephen Chbosky is also the director of this wonderful coming-of-age high-school teenage drama.
The movie’s star cast is so fitting. You have Logan Lerman (Charlie) playing an anxious, emotional, lonely and unsure boy with a troubled past and a history of mental illness. There is Emma Watson (Sam) who plays a strong-headed, self-opinionated, affectionate, smart and sassy senior. Ezra Miller (Patrick) stars alongside Emma Watson as her step-brother and all-time companion.
Already, I can feel my pulse quickening. That is the effect this movie had on me. The actors have brilliantly portrayed their characters, so much so that one hour through this movie you feel like you’ve known these people forever. Emma Watson has left Hogwarts and transcended into college, Logan Lerman has no traces of Percy Jackson and what should I say about Ezra Miller… No words that I use will be good enough to compliment his acting abilities. Who would’ve thought he would make such a brilliant Patrick after playing a sociopath in ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’.
Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a retro, American high-school indie movie set in the 1990s. Although this is not stated per se in the movie, from the nostalgic, dreamy, soft rock music that the three teenagers base their lives around, any person with functioning hearing ability can figure that out. Much of my 2013 playlist are songs from this movie.
That was a suitable background and now I will delve further. This movie, as the title goes, is about the pros of being a Wallflower. A Wallflower is someone who silently observes and does not like being the centre of attraction or in this case the centre of anything. They could easily pass as a mere painting on the wall without anyone ever bothering to look twice. And I’m sure; we have all been Wallflowers at some point in our lives.
The Wallflower here is Charlie. A young freshman about to start his first year at high school. We get to know more about Charlie from the letters he pens to an anonymous friend. Charlie is an aspiring writer, full of potential, loved dearly by his parents and sister (Nina Dobrev). In any teenager’s life, friends are very important. As adults, many of us will refute that. I am 19 and I already do.
Charlie, having just resurfaced from a tragic instance in his past sets out to make a brand new start to his high school year. Enter Patrick and Sam, and everything suddenly transforms for Charlie. Charlie goes through the highs of having crushes and trying drugs to the extreme lows of watching the person you love, love someone they don’t deserve. It is with Sam that Charlie starts listening to ‘different’ music and explores the facets of unrequited love; it is with Patrick that Charlie learns that it’s about being yourself no matter what anyone labels you as, even if that means only being ‘below average’. It is with Mary Elizabeth that Charlie learns about relationships and sex. It is with Professor Billy that Charlie expands his writing potential. It is with his sister he learns about what it is like to be abused by the one you love, but deep down he already knew that. With his aunt, who is no more; he has constant haunting visions of who she was and what she did to him. But ultimately it is with himself that he realizes what and who he needs to grow as a person and become who he ought to be.
Halfway through the movie, when everyone including the audience is deeply entangled in the plot, I had a sudden pang of fear that Perks would lose its essence, the beautiful build-up would just crash and burn like most clichéd American high-school crushes. But fortunately, it didn’t. There are scenes which are so awfully relatable you will wonder if you just heard the strings in your heart snap.
The ‘90s party sequences, the mesmerizing drives through the Tunnel, Secret Santa, The Living Room Routine, Sam and Charlie’s study sessions, The Rocky Horror Show, Patrick’s nuisances in shop class, and Sam’s laughter are what stays with you till the end of this daze.
Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a movie very close to my heart. This might not have seemed like a review and more of an exemplary praise from someone who is oblivious to noticing any kind of flaws. But that’s what you do to something or someone so close to you, you don’t point out their shortcomings. You embrace them. You fondle them and put them to rest. Perks was very well received from the critics and masses but there were some who claimed it was not convincing. What those people need to do is let down their guard for a mere few hours and watch the movie all over again. I’m sure that would help.
For others who haven’t watched it at least 10 times, here is something to lure you.
Watch this movie and swear that in that moment, we were infinite.
Everyone has certain small worlds inside the big world they live in. It forms a cocoon for you to escape from the bigger world. For me, it’s words, sentences, grammar, poetry, books and music. Today I choose to delve into the odd one out among them. Music.
Music stuns. Music inspires. Music hurts. Music heals.
There are songs which can influence you in a way no book can. No matter how hard words try, sometimes and I daresay most of the times, they’re nothing without music lending them a helping hand. So this is using words to describe music. As if that’s even possible.
So in no particular order, here it comes.
Until We Bleed – Lykke Li Ft. Kleerup
There are no words thick or strong enough to describe this song. It is simply my song. It is my song for every damn occasion. It is my walking song, it is my running song, my dancing song, my sleeping song, my travelling song, love song, breakup song, getaway song, my Tunnel Song. It’s sad that Sam from Perks Of Being A Wallflower didn’t know for so long the name of the song that played on the radio which made her feel Infinite.
But I do. And for that I am grateful.
I first heard Lykke Li’s mystifying vocals in the Twilight Saga’s ‘New Moon’. Immediately I went home and devoured her YouTube channel. I also learned that her name isn’t pronounced as I did. It was ‘licky lee’ and not ‘like lee’ (likely). Not that it changed anything, especially how much I adored and wanted to emulate her. So anyway, Until We Bleed creeped its way into my life. I am in an irretrievable daze ever since.
For months, it was the only song I could listen to, on repeat. I conveniently forgot the rest of the 400 songs on my playlist which meant something to me onceuponatime (I guess). Nothing could compare to what it made me feel. Also, the Unofficial YouTube video plays scenes from the Edie Sedgewick’s life inspired ‘Factory Girl’ starring Siena Miller. Cherry on top.
Minimal lyrics. Repetitive techno-electronic background music. Hypnotising vocals. That’s what you get when you add Kleerup to Lykke Li.
One of the video comments said,”this clip makes me want to smoke.” For the first and probably the only time in my life I added a ‘thumbs up’ to such a comment.
Recently, my friend messaged me saying that someone in his neighbourhood is playing “Until We Bleed” real loud. I asked him to jump that person’s bones already. Period.
Moon – Slow Magic
I discovered this song in one of these ridiculous Internet k-holes I fell into.
It is a typical chillwave, shoegaze genre song. You can put it on repeat for the entire day and just lay in bed and ponder about everything you never gave thought to. It could be the finale instrumental track to the soundtrack of the movie which stars you as the protagonist. The last stage where you are about to attain your ‘happilyeverafter’, that’s when Moon by Slow Magic starts playing. Automatically you will see yourself transform into an Oscar winning performer.
Best video comment I found here: “The stars make love to this song.”
I like to believe it’s not just the stars.
You’re The Shade of My Heart – Owsey, Stumbeline and Resotone
This track is a mixtape of vocals by Rihanna and Ellie Goulding. Add to that some spoken complementary words and you get the most chill, harmonious track ever by a very strong trio. Such different voices beautifully blended into one song. This song is so perfect when you’re writing. No wonder most of my bearable writings happen while listening to it.
I have had a soft corner for Owsey remixes ever since I heard their mix of Skinny Love – Birdy. Clearly this one beats the rest. No one has a right to dislike this song.
Open – Rhye
Okay, so I’ll just say it. This song plays in a Victoria’s Secret commercial. (GOOD LORD, DON’T JUDGE!) Haunting tune, secret identity of the vocalist, repetitive lyrics, very very sensual I mean come on read the lyrics.
“I’m a fool for the shake in your thighs, I’m a fool for the sound in your sighs, I’m a fool for your belly, I’m a fool for your love.”
So, just a month or so ago Rhye finally revealed their identity. What came as a shock was that they are just a duo and the vocalist is a man. Not being sexist here, but give the song a listen and you’ll know what I mean. Also, I ain’t posting the official (explicit) video here, because it’s too beautiful for its own good and I am greedy.
A comment on Soundcloud: “This song gives me something to live for.”
Apparitions – The Raveonettes
This song was made for a different universe altogether. It played for a mere 15 seconds or less on The CW’s Ringer. The Sarah Michelle Gellar lead comeback on television after Buffy The Vampire Slayer. My celebrity girl crush playing twin sisters on a show which ran for 24 episodes after being called off. Unfair or what.
I will hold this true till I die. Ringer had the best soundtracks ever. In close competition with The Vampire Diaries.
Apparitions is a frightening song. I say this because the official video gave me sleepless nights. Okay, not really. But there is something very dark about it.
The Raveonettes, I believe are a well-established band. And I say this because it’s not easy to produce such music and have it loved. The lyrics to this song are everything to me. They play in my head randomly when I’m walking on a dark street, driving or unable to sleep.I am fumbling for words here, because I watched the video again. Ah. Damn. Just give it a try.
The YouTube video description reads: A couple hot chicks get murdered, and there’s some serious haunting going on. Anyway, it’s a pretty awesomely affecting video, and the song will be in your head all week.
Fire Escape – Matthew Mayfield
Another Ringer find, I think I have an affinity for black and white. The lyrics forced invisible tears down my eyes, but it was the voice that arrested. Matthew Mayfield’s voice is what lifts this song to what it is. That’s it. Nothing else.
Also, Brittany Snow has never looked oh so stunning in her entire acting career. Something about her reminds me of the Olsen twins. I sound like I am fantasizing. I will stop. Sorry.
The abrupt ending is so apt. I want to be in such a relationship just so I can feel those complicated emotions and write deep, profound poetry and sing hard-hitting songs about it.
There’s going to be a Volume II to this post because too many songs on my playlist are feeling left out.