The Perks of Being a Wallflower? No. Especially if you saw the preview and thought, “Hey! That looks like a movie I’d like to see!” I was pretty sure I’d enjoy this one, but I was wrong. For a start, teenagers are not that cool – I know, because I hang around with a lot, plus I used to be one. (And even the ones who are kinda cool aren’t completely sure of it – the vibe they give off is, I’m cool. At least, I’m pretty sure I’m cool. Do you think I’m cool? I really want you to think I’m cool). I haven’t read the book, but the impression I got from the film was that it was a story about teenagers that was too obviously written by an adult. It also seems (from the special features, which I watched after the movie to make sure I felt I was getting my money’s worth) that the book included far more story/background than the movie could, so it’s possible that reading the book first would have helped the characters to seem more realistic/relatable in the film. Alas.
I like that it wasn’t just another high school movie – there’s big mental health stuff going on, and it’s meatier than the usual “I’m so in love/hate with that boy/girl, but they don’t even know I exist/they hate me back. Op, now we’re together, and we’re soooo happy! Uh oh, I/they just did something to stuff it up. I’m/they’re going to reflect and cry and then apologise, probably in a very public place/way. Oh look, now we’re kissing. THE END” storylines, which is a good thing, but to really enjoy this film you have to not be too distracted by the fact the kids are so obviously not high school students. I was distracted. And disappointed.
Silver Linings Playbook? Yes. Especially if you saw the preview and thought, “Hey! That looks like a movie I’d like to see!” I was pretty sure I’d enjoy this one, and then I started freaking out that my expectations were too high (I’d been let down by the Perks movie only a few weeks before), so, as I set up the DVD to play, I told myself over and over again that I probably wouldn’t like it as much as I thought I was going to. But I totally did. This one is also meatier than your average romcom (we need a new category: romdramcom? romdramedy?), again because it deals with mental health in a refreshing, this-is-real-so-let’s-not-pretend-we’re-all-normal kinda way. It could have been manipulative but it’s not, and it could have tried too hard, but it doesn’t. The acting is superb (I still can’t believe Jennifer Lawrence is only 21 [what did people do before special features were a thing?]!), the story is sweet, and I think I’d go so far as to say I LOVED IT.