First Hit: Despite the clichés of roles, it was easy to suspend belief and enjoy this film.
Entering high school can be traumatic as well as exciting.
I remember my first day, walking and gazing at 3 senior girls who were beautiful beyond belief and as I was walking and gazing, I turned to see where I was headed and I immediately ran into a metal pole – yes they all saw and laughed. I was embarrassed and tried to hide for a week while I licked my wounds.
Despite the good-looking main wallflower characters, it was the pain that each brought from within that made the film work for me. Charlie (played by Logan Lerman) is the main character from which we take this journey. He’s got problems which are not laid out to the audience when the film starts.
He talks of trying to find just one friend. The people he knows of through his older sister and a couple of childhood friends refuse to acknowledge his existence when in school. Maybe it is because he spent time in a mental hospital after his Aunt died – but we don’t know yet.
Charlie happens to meet up with Patrick (Ezra Miller) who is gay, having an affair with Brad (played by Johnny Simmons) - a football player, but Patrick sees Charlie's pain and reaches out to him. He introduces him to his step-sister Sam (Emma Watson) and their friends and they accept him.
For the first time in his life he feels at home and his internal demons subside for a moment. But his ghosts start coming back with memories of his aunt. The sub-plots with Emma and her choice in boys to date, his sister Candace (played by Nina Dobrev) and why she would let her boyfriend hit her we’re all engaging.
Lerman was very good as the guy trying to discover why he is so lost. Miller was truly outstanding as the vocal gay student who is trying to keep busy and his life together. Simmons, was good and convincing as the very confused gay football player. Watson was superb as Lerman’s heartthrob who also was trying to receive the love she deserves. Dobrev was strong as Lerman’s sister who was supportive when it really mattered while learning her own lessons. Stephen Chbosky both wrote and directed this film with a pretty good feel for the internal anguish of young teens.
Overall: This was an enjoyable film but not a great one.