Throwback Thursday: The perks of being a teenager

PHOTO PROVIDED Main characters of the 2012 film “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” are pictured in this still from the movie.

What is a throwback movie?

A throwback movie to my coworkers may not necessarily be a throwback movie for me. These movies that we choose to review may vary in selection, as we differ in age, however, one thing remains the same.

When watching a throwback movie you gain a sense of nostalgia or a familiar feeling that has you wishing you were living in the past. This feeling remains true as I recently rewatched one of my all-time favorite films of 2012 that brings me to tears every single time.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” directed by Steven Chbosky, author of the 1999 novel, is a coming of age film starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, and Paul Rudd. This film follows 15-year-old Charlie Kelmeckis through his freshman year of high school where he finds himself in an inclusive senior friend group that shows him parts of the world that he has never seen before.

Charlie is first introduced to the viewers while writing to an addressed “friend,” not that he has any, but because he was suggested to do so to get all of his thoughts and feelings down on paper. He writes about his deep insecurities, his long lost wishes, and how he is starting his freshman year of high school the next day.

It is revealed that Charlie is an introvert who suffers from various mental health issues. Charlie lost two of the most important people in his life due to tragic deaths. His best, and only, friend committed suicide Charlie’s eighth-grade year. His Aunt Helen died in a car accident on the night of his birthday when he was 7-years-old, which is a key factor in understanding the plot of the movie. Charlie holds a lot of guilt within himself for his losses and suffers from various blackouts and flashbacks of the events throughout the movie.

On his first day of high school, everything that he wished was only real in the movies happened in real life. Straight A students bully him and couples make out in the hallways. The best part of his first day was when he met his English teacher, Mr. Anderson. Mr. Anderson takes a liking to Charlie because he sees much of himself in him. Charlie goes to Mr. Anderson for new book suggestions, extra essay assignments, and most importantly, for advice.

Wrapped up in his concerns for the years to come, Charlie meets Patrick whom everyone refers to as ‘Nobody.’ Patrick is quite literally the opposite of Charlie. Patrick is a gay, extroverted, and optimistic person always willing to put a smile on everyone’s face. He takes it upon himself to introduce Charlie to his stepsister, Sam, with whom Charlie becomes infatuated.

Sam seems to have it all. She is beautiful, caring, and spontaneous. Sam and Charlie both share a passion for music and it brings them closer together as they discuss what a good musician and a bad musician consist of. Sam is very intelligent and she is majorly focused on improving her SAT scores to get into Penn State University. With Charlie’s help, Sam begins to study and practice hard for an acceptance letter.

Patrick and Sam later introduce Charlie to their group of friends who accept Charlie just as they have. They enjoy doing everything together; going to parties, dances, restaurants, movies, and most of all, putting on the Rocky Horror Picture Show production together at a local theater downtown. They embrace being the high school outcasts and they redefine what it means to be one. You’re not an outcast, you’re a wallflower.

Nearing the end of the film, as members of their friend group prepare for college and what life has to offer them after high school, Charlie’s mental health begins to decline. A relationship that he has built with an important group of people will soon diminish and he will be alone again, with nothing but his thoughts and feelings, but this time, no paper.

The ending is worth a watch as it contains a shock factor that gets me every time. I highly suggest this movie to anyone in need of inspiration, a good soundtrack to listen to, and/or a good cry.

You can view The Perks of Being a Wallflower on Netflix today.

I decided to review this movie at this time because it is very fitting. My high school friends and I are parting ways after being together for nearly four years now. This movie may mean more to me now then it did when I watched it for the first time years ago. I thank every person who has been a part of my life these past four years, as it has been truly a pleasure to grow up with all of you by my side. (Cue Heroes by David Bowie) Thank you; Briana Bottorf, Eve Eisenhower, Koral Esposit, Teagan Freeman, Avary Gunsallus, Ryan Probst, Zoe Tice, and Gavyn Walker. And in this moment, I swear we were infinite. (Cut Heroes by David Bowie).


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