Couldn’t help thinking while watching this movie that it’s unfair. How, for example, can I not like a movie with music by David Bowie? Several references to The Smiths? Fleetwood Mac, Smashing Pumpkins, The Beatles, etc. As well as discussions about To Kill A Mockingbird, On The Road and The Fountainhead? Can those books get any more influential to me?
It was as if I was a young virgin resisting the advances of her boyfriend after prom. Everything makes you want to give it all up but you don’t want to look cheap. Then the movie gets Charlie (Logan Lerman) to finally let loose to the tune of Come On Eileen by the Dexys Midnight Runners and you finally give in to the lust all too easily, quickly, with nary a look back. Everything will work out later. I will love this movie and the movie will love me back. And that’s it. I have given up resistance. It’s only halfway through but I’ve already marked this movie for greatness.
Ok well, maybe not that much. And certainly not as dramatically. But there it is anyway, and I am smiling like an idiot, enjoying myself from thereon.
The lead characters are certainly far from enjoying though. Emma Watson plays Sam, a girl ‘with a reputation’ whom had turned out to have been raped at 12 years old. She is half sister to Patrick (Ezra Miller), whose gay relationship with the captain of the football team (?) is kept hidden to keep appearances. Charlie of course, fits into this group because he has secrets of his own. Secrets that have damaged him and have left him having to deal with panic attacks most of his life.
It is nothing you haven’t read or watched before. Damaged people trying to do as well they can. The story is intricate and goes deep into their who they are and why they live their lives. The important thing is how it shows you how they deal with the varied issues, consequently taking the audience to its inevitable explanation.
The movie pulled its punches until then. I have to admit at 3/4ths of it, I was wondering where was the requisite melodrama that would’ve been all too easy to pour heavily on like gravy on a fat chicken meal. But the movie not only avoided resorting to that, it helped make sense of the evil that had happened to these injured people, and in doing so opens your eyes, making you aware, whilst hoping the best for Charlie. It is painful and gritty but not too painful and gritty. It tells a grim story while surrounding it with the love that can only come from friendships and a supportive family. In the end you realize it is a dark, disturbing story, but instead of feeling heavy, you feel light and happy.
The movie’s strength is its story, but not so much the actors, although I feel it’s not entirely their fault. I give this movie an 8/10. I can’t help thinking this is an important movie, something the future will reference a lot, like Juno and how it deal with teenage pregnancy, and Catcher In The Rye, probably due to the lead being a youth and trying, in their own unique ways, to break out of where they are.