Words by Naomi Jeffreys
“Right now we are alive and in this moment I swear we are infinite.”
What to make of this Teenage Angst film? Some audiences will be going to see the film to compare to the Stephen Chbosky’s novel of the same name, others will be going to see Emma Watson in her first lead role since her Potter Hermione Granger days. And others, well, they will be going just to see the film.
Some elements are good, Erza Miller is suprisingly good as Patrick, who is wonderfully confident and an outsider. Another surprise performance was from Logan Lerman as the lead character, Charlie. He is endearing, lost and fumbling around school for most of the film. But it is his innocence, his lack of confidence and troubled childhood which is where Lerman excels.
But, poor Emma Watson feels rather out of her depth. Attempting an American accent and trying to be sexy, frivolous and damaged. Something doesn’t add up. She doesn’t feel real or believable. Particularly in the first half of the film. She gives it a go and only just manages to hang on.
Chbosky, who wrote and directed the screenplay is able to gain real emotion from the three young leads. There is a real sense of friendship, trying to find friendship in a school which is full of ‘jocks’ and ‘cheerleaders’.
However, despite these positive points, Chbosky becomes confused, there is an attempt at a time era, perhaps the eighties or nineties, but it is not clear. The only hints we get that it is not set in the present day is the use of tapes, turntables and the music which is used throughout the film.
Chbosky drip feeds us information about Charlie’s troubled past and the climax is shocking and highly effective. Perhaps this is because of Michael Brooks’ wonderful score, it is thoughtful, reflective, hundreds of strings are played at moments of emotion. It is almost the music inside Charlie’s head.
So, if you’re looking for a fun, frivolous film, about teenagers in high school. Don’t see this film. But, if you’re looking for real people, with real problems, give this a try.