What a lovely film. I knew it was a coming of age movie, a rites of passage story but these are usually quite light affairs. Not this one. This has depth.
The central character of Charlie is brilliantly played by Logan Lerman. Lerman reminds me at times of Christian Slater which is no bad thing. All the cast are superb including Emma Watson (Sam). It's testament to how good she is that you realise afterwards that you never once thought about Hermione.

Charlie is shy, painfully shy and unable to engage. His teacher (wonderfully played by Paul Rudd) sees something in him and connects as a friend. Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam take him under their wing. They and their friends are all outsiders and all have their emotional burdens that keep them outside the mainstream.
This is not a story about the joy of adolescence but the pain that can come with that journey.

The music is wonderful. Set in 1991 you get The Smiths, The Cocteau Twins, Bowie, Crowded House and more.  If there is any fault with the film it is only a tiny one and it doesn't matter; it's the fact that they don't know the piece of music playing on the radio when Sam "flies" through the tunnel. Everyone knows that piece of music and, given what they were listening to, they would have known it too.

The direction is fabulous and it puts you in their world. So often the shots are centred upon Charlie's face letting you into Charlie's world. There is a particular piece where Charlie is at a dance, standing by the wall, like the titular wallflower as "Come On Eileen" plays, and his head starts to bob and you just want him to make his way to the dancefloor. You can't help but travel with him as the music takes hold and the camera draws him from the wall.  The damage that each character carries is revealed with care and sensitivity, especially that of Charlie which makes this so much more than another Breakfast Club and moves it more towards the realms of "Dead Poets Society".

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I forgot my stinking cold for the duration of the screening and simply got lost in their world. I enjoyed my trip to "the island of misfit toys".


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