a high school student who knows everything, sees everything, has no friends and often a loner.
The year 1991. Meet first year student Charlie and hates that very fact, he’s a first year high schooler. His English teacher notices Charlie’s the smart kid but encouragement will do nothing for this wallflower.
Three key performances by Logan Lerman (Charlie) , Emma Watson (Sam) , and Ezra Miller (Patrick) make this film warm and authentic in what otherwise could have been a token high school flick without heart. The film follows Charlie as he struggles to to fit into a high school and is abandoned by immediate peers. Charlie meets Patrick by chance at a school football game resulting in a friendship. Patrick doesn’t care that he’s a senior hanging out with a freshman. Charlie is introduced to Sam by Patrick and he automatically believes they are an item. When they alert him to the fact that they are step siblings, Charlie’s first crush begins.
Charlie does have tragedies in his past that still terrorise him, he fights his demons by writing them down and journalling releases them. Sam says everyone are “an island of misfit toys”.
Charlie is comforted because Patrick and Sam have their own gang and Charlie finds acceptance for the first time. Although Sam does not want to be more than friends with Charlie, she never breaks his heart because the transparency of their connection means they can move beyond it.
The gang exchange mixtapes of songs, have house parties, experiment with a few things, indulge in secret santa presents and show a deep respect for David Bowie.
Within the film Charlie’s mental health is observed and as a viewer what is seen on screen is objective and never stereotyped.
An artist can be too close to his work but not in the case of this director Stephen Chbosky who also wrote the script and novel. Here, he strikes the right pace, mood and finds the right moments between the core cast.
Lerman will be known to audiences for Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief , here he excels greatly while watching Watson in this role, it begs the question Hermione who? Harry Potter & What? Watching Miller in this film we understand why he has gone on to other films like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the upcoming Justice League film.
At last a film that understands youth. A film that understands mental health. A film that understands friendship.
Logan Lerman as Charlie
Emma Watson as Sam
Ezra Miller as Patrick