Monday, December 16, 2013

"I know these will all be stories someday...

...And our pictures will become old photographs. We'll all become somebody's mom or dad. But right now these moments are not stories. This is happening."

I don't really cry during movies. A good song can move me to tears, but movies? Not so much. There are moments when I might hyperbolically say something like "I burst into tears" or "I'm NOT crying, I have something in my eye!" But I'm really just referring to sad feelings, not actual tears.

But the first time I saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower, there were actual tears. A lot of them.

I had read the book a little over a decade ago, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. When I had first heard that there was going to be a movie based on it, I was actually a little weary. So much of my enjoyment of the book came from its well-crafted prose. But a lot of people were saying good things about the movie, so I knew I needed to see it. I had heard at least a few people say they cried, so I prepared myself for that. But no warnings could've prepared me enough for how hard it hit me.

Given the subject matter of the book, it's seems pretty obvious that there should be some sort of deep emotional response. Some of the topics covered include: suicide, abuse (both sexual and non), the loss of family members, homophobia, drug abuse, and mental illness. But interestingly enough, those things aren't what hit me the hardest. No, what hit me the hardest were the seemingly ordinary things. The way it feels when it's the first day of high school and you don't have any friends yet. Or when you're in love with someone who doesn't feel the same way about you. Or that feeling you get when you're sitting in car with your best friends and a great song comes on the radio and you feel infinite.

I've mentioned elsewhere that the book and movie compliment each other, and I really feel like that's the best way for me to describe it. While well-crafted prose is what made the book excel, the movie relies on strong, moving performances from its cast. But both achieve the same effect: they make the mundane seem extraordinary.

And while there are a lot of heavy issues and sad moments in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the tears flowed the hardest during the happy moments. Because that's what this story teaches us. That no matter what life might throw at us, we've got the little things to hold onto. And how there's nothing quite like sitting in the middle seat of a pickup with two nice people when it starts to rain.