Why settle in being a hero for a day when we could live it for the rest of our lives?
Summit Entertainment and Mr. Mudd present…
The coming of age film was based on the epistolary novel by Stephen Chbosky with the same title. His book was published by MTV on February 1, 1999 and finally was able to acquire a go signal for the big screen with the help of Mr. Mudd a production company courtesy of its owners the multi-faceted John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith that gave us the award winning “Juno” in 2007.
Stephen brought in the whole nine yards by not just being the Author of the book but also in terms of Directing and writing the Script which was great since it is very rare for an adapted screenplay to be handled personally by those who made the original piece. He was able to make extraordinarily intimate and carefree characters that blended well with the actual premise.
The story revolves around a boy who keeps track of his journal, expressing his thoughts and daily solitude to a certain anonymous friend. Meet Charlie Kelmeckis, a freshman who technically does have certain issues to settle and surviving his first year in high school was just the tip of the iceberg but will get into that in next pit stop. He is played by Logan Lerman (3:10 to Yuma) the actor and musician had a few minor roles before getting a break for stardom in “Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief”. I was ambivalent at first when I saw this newbie being given the spotlight from the aforementioned film which was mediocre written and worse it had pedestrian performances knowing the producers had high hopes with their so called “poor man’s Harry Potter”!
Logan rose up to the occasion as the soft spoken boy who only wanted was to be recognized of who he was, noting that he is exceptionally gifted in terms of his academics as well as a loving son and brother to his siblings. Still, while we graciously accept his timid demeanor and at times his gullibility, he does make amends in taking care of his family and protecting his friends. Even better is the triumvirate of co-stars manages to captivate audiences with the narrative that acts as a backdrop to its clear cut dialogue that is spontaneously human in all aspects.
Speaking of young talents, finally we can have a fresh air to breathe for the protagonists of the “Harry Potter” franchise! For them to have a different type of project and explore more their potential as Emma Watson (My Week with Marilyn) moves away from wands and magic spells to place her current leading man Charlie under her charms! As the groovy high school senior exhibits her acting prowess as Sam promiscuously beautiful as she is ambitious living her life to the fullest especially with her half-brother Patrick played by Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin) who has a knack for watching football games while still trying to graduate due to a bottleneck with Mr. Callahan’s class. Another “diamond in the rough” coming from his unforgettable portrayal of Kevin who massacred high school students is his previous film.
While juggling high school and extra-curricular theatre plays, it gets even a little crazier at times due to unavoidable circumstances where you try to hide the skeletons in your closet and yet it would not be a hindrance to cope if you know who your true friends are and this is where we change gears and see the actual lives of these adolescents come into fruition!
Supporting casts like Kate Walsh (Under the Tuscan Sun) and Dylan McDermott (Three to Tango) plays Charlie’s parents who were brought in just to fill in the roles nothing much was considered for the part except that they were utterly supportive, generous and caring (except the swearing after saying grace). While out of the blue is comedian Paul Rudd (I Love You, Man) as Mr. Anderson (not the chosen one) who provide a little more encouragement to Charlie’s intellect and “student to his teacher” affection.
Though not included in this year’s concluded awards, it still deserves to be in this month’s review. I consider this as an amalgamation of sorts with award winning films like “Dead Poets Society”, “With Honors”, “Scent of a Woman” and even “Patch Adams” which were all about learning not just from school undertakings but from life’s experiences, finding a place in this world where people are bounded by family issues, peer pressure, dealing with relationships, sex, drugs and alcohol that we encounter growing up and the happiness that everyone longs for at the end of every journey! The principal casts: Logan together with Emma and Ezra were truly all commendable providing genuinely crafted portrayals which interestingly had all the elements that make it really worth watching and as it starts to be a certified cult phenomenon that will be remembered for the years to come.