An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Based on the novel written by Stephen Chbosky, this is about 15-year-old Charlie (Logan Lerman), an endearing and naive outsider, coping with first love (Emma Watson), the suicide of his best friend, and his own mental illness while struggling to find a group of people with whom he belongs. The introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors, Sam and Patrick, who welcome him to the real world. Written by
The picture inside Charlie's school locker (when he wears his Christmas suit to school) is the singer Johnny Ray. At the school dance when Sam & Patrick perform "the living room routine" to Dexy's Midnight Runner's Come on, Eilene, the first line of the song is: "Poor ol' Johnny Ray..." See more »
If the movie does take place during the '91/'92 school year, the song "Low" by Cracker that plays as they enter Charlie's first party wasn't recorded or released until 1993. See more »
[mimicking his shop teacher]
The prick punch is not a toy! I learned that back in 'Nam in '68. 'Callahan,' Sergeant said, 'you put down that prick punch and go kill some gooks!' And you know what happened? That prick punch killed my best friend in a Saigon whore house.
I heard you were going to be in my class. Are you proud to be a senior having to take freshman shop, Patty-Cakes?
Look, my name is Patrick. Either you call me Patrick or you call me nothing.
I felt really...
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Greetings again from the darkness. Brace for gushing. Last evening I attended a screening that included a fascinating Q&A with writer/director Stephen Chbosky. It reminded me of how personal and intimate and observant and incisive a well-made film can be. A well written script is so refreshing, and an exceptional script can be truly breath-taking. Mr. Chbosky takes the unusual step of directing his own screenplay based on his own novel (a 1999 bestseller), and he left me stunned and enthralled.
The popularity of the novel would typically make the film version a disappointment for its fans. Not so this time. Mr. Chbosky remains true to the spirit despite the need to edit for the sake of continuity and brevity. The key characters spring to life thanks to the efforts of four strong performances from young actors: Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson, The Three Muskateers) plays Charlie, Emma Watson (Harry Potter films) is Sam, Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin, City Island) is Patrick, and Mae Whitman (Arrested Development) is Mary Elizabeth.
If you have read the book, you know the story ... you know the characters ... you know the themes. If you haven't read the book, I will spoil nothing. The brilliance is recognized only as you get to know these characters and slowly uncover their stories. What we discover is that, regardless of our age, we recognize these characters from our high school days. We know the introverted, observant Charlie who so desperately needs a support system. We surely recognize the attention-starved, lacking in self-esteem Sam who is the epitome of "We accept the love we think we deserve". And we all knew a Patrick ... the flamboyant one who sheaths his pain with an over-the-top act of public confidence. What Chbosky does is shine the spotlight on these characters to ensure that we really SEE them this time.
The themes reminded me a bit of a darker John Hughes film (that's a compliment). There were also pieces of two other really good films: Stand By Me and Almost Famous. The formative years of a writer determine the depths to which his or her work will reach later in life. Admittedly, the film is substantially autobiographical, so when Mr. Chbosky says it's a personal story, we begin to understand the foundation of his remarkable writing style.
"Welcome to the island of misfit toys." When this line is spoken, we realize that most every high school kid has thought the same thing at some point. These are painful and difficult times and as Mr. Chbosky stated, we should encourage kids to fight through this stage and get on to the next ... then able to find their true self. Clearly, the film made a strong impact on me. My favorite reaction to a movie is profound thought, and this one caused this in waves. The decision to release as PG-13 was wise. There is no excess of profanity or nudity to divert attention from what really matters ... the characters. I can think of no finer compliment to a writer and filmmaker than to cite them as the cause of my internal discussions related to their film. My hope is that you have the same reaction. (http://moviereviewsfromthedark.wordpress.com/)
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