2012 in Film: My Top 5

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Based on Stephen Chbosky’s best-selling coming-of-age novel, Perks is an introspective insight into the world of a naive and socially alienated teen, Charlie (Logan Lerman) as he struggles to integrate with his peers. Taken under the wings of two senior students, Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), he experiences the true joy of friendship, and discovers what being young is all about.

Watson is excellent as the charming Sam, providing Charlie with his first kiss. Miller is superb in his portrayal of Patrick, the life and soul of every party.  He shows Charlie what it’s like to have fun. Sam and Patrick’s extended social clique contains an assortment of personalities, representing the reality of teenage social groups. They watch Rocky Horror together, have house parties, and share a love of classic rock music, taking road trips through tunnels listening to ‘their’ song: “The Tunnel Song” (David Bowie’s “Heroes”. By the way the entire soundtrack is wonderful). Anyone who’s ever been a teenager can appreciate and empathise with that warm feeling you get from reminiscing about shared experiences and memories, which only ever make sense to those who were there.

The darker side of adolescence isn’t ignored: Patrick deals with homophobia; Charlie fumbles with his first relationship,  and he has regular depressive episodes.

The film is at times genuinely moving, but its charm lies in his friends’ altruistic efforts at helping him navigate the extremely complex high school social etiquette and make him feel – for the first time – that he belongs.

This film is intelligent, witty, and at times extremely funny, and yet constantly aware of its own biting realism. Being young is not easy, but it sure can be fun. It teaches us not to get so caught up in worrying whether we fit in that we forget to live.

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