The movie is about 15-year-old Charlie (Logan Lerman), a loner, coping with the suicide of his best friend and his own mental illness while struggling to find a group of people with whom he can belong. The introverted freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors, Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), who welcome him to the real world. This world includes their own gay theatre centered around Patrick, an endearing teenager who is not afraid of letting the world know he is gay.
Charlie experiences a lot of growth during his time with Sam and Patrick. As the end of high school approaches, Charlie realizes that all of his friends and his sister will all be leaving for college. Sam gets accepted to Penn State, but before she leaves for the summer, she and Charlie begin to have a sexual encounter. However, Charlie stops suddenly because he feels strange. The next day he realizes that his Aunt Helen had molested him when he was younger. He has a breakdown and is hospitalized.
What is most notable about this funny, touching, memorable first novel from Stephen Chbosky is the resounding accuracy with which the author captures the voice of a boy teetering on the brink of adulthood. Charlie is a freshman. And while’s he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular.
He’s a wallflower–shy and introspective, and intelligent beyond his years, if not very savvy in the social arts. We learn about Charlie through the letters he writes to someone of undisclosed name, age, and gender, a stylistic technique that adds to the heart-wrenching earnestness saturating this teen’s story. Charlie encounters the same struggles that many kids face in high school–how to make friends, the intensity of a crush, family tensions, a first relationship, exploring sexuality, experimenting with drugs–but he must also deal with his best friend’s recent suicide.
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Year of Release: 2012
Character to watch: Ezra Miller as Steven Patrick.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?