We’re rapidly counting down til xmas. Only a few short days left – you better have finished all your holiday shopping by now! I’m spending some serious quality time with my family here in the countryside with walks through crisp, lightly snowed-in fields, the house filled with the sugary smell of intricately decorated cookies (courtesy of my mom and sister).
I’ve morphed into a walking xmas moodboard of fluffy blankets, fuzzy socks, tea and books accompanied by wintery lo-fi/piano playlists. The coziness is unparalleled!
However, things have been less than exciting in the film department. Netflix has released some cringe-y and questionable holiday movies over the years. Of the ones that I have seen – A Christmas Prince, Christmas Inheritance and, most recently, The Princess Switch – I can’t say that a single one was appealing or particularly re-watchable. And I’m not big into the classics either (It’s a Wonderful Life, The Grinch, etc.).
Though it’s not just for a lack of alternatives but also because of the sheer happiness and comfort I feel when watching that I am drawn to the same movie year after year. A book adaptation released in November 2012 that has generally very few ties to this most wonderful time of the year.
That movie is The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
A quick, spoiler-free synopsis for those who haven’t seen it:
Charlie (Logan Lerman), a high school freshman with a history of mental health issues, starts a new school year and tries to figure out how to fit in and make friends. He meets Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson) who indoctrinate him into their friend group. Because Charlie is quiet yet incredibly perceptible, he learns many of his new friends’ deepest secrets and insecurities. Through mutual acceptance of each other’s hardships, the group learns to create their own happiness regardless of others’ expectations or opinions.
Struggles with self-love, mental illness and trauma – these don’t sound particularly jolly. As it stands, Perks will likely not be included in your average xmas movies list. The reason it is at the top of mine is that, as I said, it gives me the same feelings that xmas time as a whole does – happiness, comfort, coze and warmth.
Charlie is a protagonist and narrator that you can’t help but adore. He is intelligent, kind, understanding, sweet and yet so naive and ill-adjusted in his own understanding of the world. He makes impulsive decisions straight from his heart which completely contrasts his friends who put an almost tangible conscious effort into how they present temselves and navigate high school life – even if that effort is purposefully leaning towards not blending in.
Part of the story is set during the holidays and even a game of secret santa becomes an inspired set piece. Maybe that’s one reason I associate Perks so strongly with xmas. Moreover, the film is mostly held in warm tones, lots of reds; fairy lights are sprinkled throughout and it all has an unmistakable atmosphere of familiarity and nostalgia – classic novels, record players, type writers, cassette mix tapes, all part of the slowed down, more deliberate lifestyle that many of us enjoy during xmas (if we don’t have to rush through holiday shopping and 15 xmas gatherings in the days leading up).
Probably the biggest lesson to take away from Perks is this: Not every problem needs an immediate solution, sometimes simple understanding is the most comforting thing a friend can offer. And with the help of that understanding, we might learn to make kinder choices.
But hey, maybe you’re not into Perks as a movie. Perhaps you’re not a big fan of the actors or looking at a screen simply doesn’t appeal to you during this coziest of times. Well I got a secfret for you: The Perks of Being a Wallflower is equally as lovely in book form!
Either way, we hope you can relax and fully enjoy xmas this year, maybe with the film’s adorable soundtrack while you’re wrapping presents or baking cookies 😉
Happy Holidays! ❤