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Friendship Value In The Film "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower"

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Overview of the Movie

Perks of Being of Wallflower is set in the 1990s in the state of Pittsburgh. The film begins with the main character, Charlie, writing a letter to his best friend. This sets him up as the narrator for the remainder of the film in which he is reading all the letters he is writing to his best friend. We are then introduced to various characters throughout his classes. Such as Patrick, a senior in his wood shop class and Mr. Anderson, his advanced English teacher. We then gain a sense of his family environment with the next scene at the dinner table. We meet his parents, sister, and his sister’s boyfriend Derek. We then return to school where Charlie attends his first football game and sits with Patrick who introduces his step-sister Sam (Chbosky, 2012).

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They invite Charlie out to eat and they quickly become friends. After a wonderful night with his new friends, Charlie comes home to his sister Candace fighting with her boyfriend Derek. He then witnesses Derek slapping Candace during the argument in which he tries to intervene. She quickly pushes him out of the room and does not allow him to talk with Derek. She later explains that it was the first and last time he was going to hit her, asking him to keep it a secret for her.

The film skips to a school dance where Charlie finds the courage to dance with his new friends, Patrick and Sam. They then take him to his first party where we meet the rest of the friend group, Mary Elizabeth and Alice. Charlie then accidentally eats a pot brownie and soon becomes the center of attention (Chbosky, 2012). In this state, he reveals to Sam that his best friend recently committed suicide. The famous tunnel scene follows where Sam climbs to the back of Patrick’s truck as they drive through a tunnel, and Charlie is starting to feel infinite at this part of the film.

Charlie’s feeling for Sam start to develop and he gives her a mixtape at another party. We then meet Craig; the boy Sam is currently crushing over crushing Charlie’s hopes of asking her out. Time passes by with school and soon Christmas time is approaching. The gang gives each other their Secret Santa gifts and afterwards, Charlie and Sam find themselves alone. Sam gives Charlie his first kiss while clarifying its purely out of platonic love. As his friends leave to celebrate the holiday, Charlie’s big brother comes home from college and asks about Charlies “bad days” and whether he is thinking about their Aunt Helen.

The story continues where Charlie is at another party with the gang where he takes LSD and hallucinates, revealing how his Aunt Helen was killed. He wakes up in the hospital after being found on the snow passed out (Chbosky, 2012). The film continues onto the Sadie Hawken’s dance where Charlie was asked out by Marie Elizabeth. After the dance, Mary Elizabeth kisses Charlie, and expresses just how happy she is that he is her boyfriend. Charlie wants to get out of the relationship and ends it in a game of truth or dare. When dared to kiss the prettiest girl in the room, he kisses Sam instead of Mary Elizabeth. Patrick advises Charlie to stay away from the gang for a while, furthering his isolation and hints at his “bad” times.

Charlie reconciles with the gang after he defends Patrick from getting beat up from his exes’ friends. This was because they were found together by the exe’s father which led to their break-up. As the gang is back together, each of Charlie’s friends find out where they’ve been accepted into college. Once Charlie says goodbye to each of them, he falls back into his bad times and has a breakdown. He calls his sister Candace and considers attempting suicide. The police manage to get there in time and take him to the hospital. Charlie slowly recovers, and the movie ends back in the tunnel with Charlie standing in the bed of the truck.

Main Character

Charlie is the protagonist of the film, Perks of Being a Wallflower. He is a freshman in high school with blue eyes and dark brown hair. He loves to read and write and aspires to find a career in that area. The first scene of the film, we see Charlie writing after school hours hinting his enjoyment of the task. We also see various scenes in his English class where he is very knowledgeable on the subject, given he knew the answers to his teacher’s questions while the others didn’t. Throughout the film, Charlie voluntarily writes reports on books his teacher gives him letting the audience know just how much he loves to read and write.

Charlie is also a very quiet person. He speaks in a very soft manner and tends to speak mostly when spoken too. Although he is very quiet, I do believe he is a bit extroverted as a person. He isn’t afraid to go to big events by himself, such as school football games or school dances, and states multiple times how he wants to make friends. These small moments in the film show the side of Charlie that is almost contradictory to the way he presents himself. This leads to the conclusion that Charlie would be the type a person to make friends with almost anyone.

We also get a sense that Charlie is a very open-minded person. He accepts Patrick with no hesitation after finding him kissing another boy and refuses to judge Sam based off her past. He can put himself in their shoes and understand who they are what really matters, not their past or sexuality. This opens the idea that he generally wants the people he loves to be happy and tries to act in ways that will lead to that. Getting everyone a gift for Secret Santa is an example of just that. He wanted to let his friends know what they meant to him instead of sticking to just on gift for one person. Overall, Charlie is an open-minded, smart, and kind person who cares deeply about his friends and family, putting them above himself in most cases.

References:

  1. Chbosky, S. (Director), Chbosky, S. (Writer), & Halfon, L., Smith, R., & Malkovich, J. (Producers). (2012). The perks of being a wallflower [Motion picture]. United States: Lionsgate.
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012). (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2018, from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1659337
18 March 2020

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