I definitely think there is hope for the industry, and for all people, particularly young people, if a film like The Perks of Being a Wall Flower, which although seemingly aimed at people my age, can truly resonate and touch younger folks in their teens and twenties.
If it can do that, does do that, then it can avoid the trap of being strictly a nostalgia shadow box, a frozen moment of time on display for everyone. Many, like myself, an absolute mix tape fiend back in the day, and others my age, will be helpless but to peer inside the box. Others of all different ages might pass right by. And, that is alright, of course.
One of the greatest joys about art, and something that is ever so smartly built right in to the picture, is the intense feeling of personal ownership. A friend of mine in college once said, "My R.E.M. is completely different from your R.E.M." I understood exactly what they meant. The film, The Perks of Being a Wall Flower (and I gather the novel does, as well) does an excellent job of capturing the extreme, faintly erotic sense of possessing, or "living inside" something like a David Bowie record, or a JD Salinger novel, while at the same time makes a hearty attempt at becoming the type of art object that merits such cultish adoration.
As I said, if the film speaks to folks not of my generation (and I think it does) then the artists involved should be spectacularly proud and pleased.
It is not a film I think I need to own, or something that could bear multiple repeated viewings on my part, but, I am glad it is out there, and I hope it inspires the same kind of devotion from its fans that I had for ChangesOneBowie or Franny & Zooey. "My Perks is completely different from your Perks", indeed.
(A few random notes: It sure was nice to hear Throwing Muses and Pavement in a film, right? And, I could probably watch Mae Whitman unload a dishwasher onscreen and be absolutely enthralled.)
All my Friday love,
Your cranky know it all critic,