Watched, Read, Loved: February 2017

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February being so short is all fun and games (particularly since payday is closer for a lot of people) but then suddenly you are in March and I don’t know about you, but I’m really like where the actual f is this year going? February was rather quiet compared to January’s movie intake, which I will blame on the shortness of the month and the fact that I got hooked on Daredevil, which certainly took up the majority of time I would usually have spent watching movies. But do you see me complaining? Nope. It changed my life, the show is THAT good.

On a personal note the start of February was rather sad. I kept thinking whether I should do some sort of separate posting about it, but decided against it as it seemed too morbid to post exclusively about death. One of my oldest friends committed suicide late January, and her birthday was on the same date as my father’s, who would have been sixty this year. In the past the weekend close to the 2nd of February would have usually been a massive amount of party juggling is now only a sad remembrance of two amazing people, and that is really just very sad to deal with.

Furthermore work was also a little crazy. I received a job offer and went through all the hoops to get a formal proposal. I ultimately decided to stay with my current company, a decision which I question daily. The pros and cons kept me awake for nights on end, and while I’m mostly happy with my decision the thought of a few things still make me wonder. It is not always easy here, but I have realized that the field I am in is rarely easy, so if I truly want to change I will do so after my degree and rather just change careers completely.

On the Tinder and dating saga: February is the month of Lurveeeee. I am very much past the point where Valentines actually holds meaning to me. I hate to be on the overly-negative-bandwagon, but it is a commercialized chaos and I am very uninterested in furthering every shop in town’s agenda. I just realized that I really have so much to say about this that I should do another Tinder and dating post. It has been a merry ride with asthma attacks during dates, single events, people who actually use the term hella cool and people who seem to think I’m dumb and don’t have basic knowledge of things.

Looking at everything I just wrote on there I am not surprised I didn’t reach my January high of movies. Here they are below, let me know what you’ve been up to as well in the comment section!

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Movies:

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016): 8.5/10

I started February off with a bang and finally got to Hunt for The Wilderpeople. I reviewed it already because I loved it too much to keep it contained for too long. It is really far out of the type of movie I would usually choose to watch. This actually can’t be classified to a genre. Full of quips, this film is designed to warm your heart and make you think long and hard about the sanity of New Zealanders.

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The BFG (2016): 6/10

Wow, I really get why people didn’t like this! Long and overindulgent. Ugh.

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Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince(2009): 6.5/10

Can a movie ever really do justice to the book it was created from? The answer is always no unless it is Lord of The Rings. I’m not sure whether I’ll even do a review for this. I had it in my head to do a series at one stage, so maybe I will just write it up and get to it one day in the distant future.

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Shall We Dance? (2004):6.5/10

I watched this with my mom, and we both enjoyed it. It is mostly about an old man finding his groove again, and I liked it by the end. It is also not about cheating and I was very suspicious about that, which made me pleased in the end.

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Notting Hill (1999): 6.5/10

I apparently really like the 6.5/10 rating. It seems like a fair score if I liked it but it wasn’t amazing. Notting Hill is a passable film but it isn’t my favorite in the genre. I still think Julia Roberts is one of the most beautiful women to have ever worked in Hollywood.

How to be single poster

How to Be Single (2015): 6.5/10

This is a second watch for me. I really like a number of things about this movie – Rebel Wilson and Dakota Fanning do great work together. Dakota Fanning is a really talented lady, so I hope she does more work other than that BDSM crap. The message of this film is also really important.

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Books:

The Power of Six (Pittacus Lore)

Not sure if I should even list it on here as I read the last twenty pages in February, but there you go. It was quite enjoyable although it certainly wasn’t as captivating as the first book.

After You (JoJoMoyes)

After Me Before You, the touching book and the slightly less touching film, After You comes along. Lou is dealing with her grief, her inability to convey to strangers how she loved a man so quickly and powerfully in only six months and the judgment of every ass available. It is written in typical JoJoMoyes style and so far it is really enjoyable although I can’t see how she will reach the emotional highs of her first book.

Tribute – Nora Roberts

I enjoy Tribute on a loop every year at least. All I know from reading this book again is I want a Spock.

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling

Everything. This book is everything. It makes me so happy and content. It is such an important book in the series, and there are scenes in there that fills my heart up with so much happiness and light.

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Series:

X-files Season 2 – I’m a bit at a snag right now with X-Files. I enjoy it but it is so procedural I can drop and pick up without too many holes in the conversation.

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Daredevil Season 1 and 2 – I’ve been postponing this for ages now. WHY? It is amazing. It is 10 000% better than that awful Jessica Jones BS I subjected myself too. Charlie Cox as Daredevil is AMAZING. That introduction.The tone of the series.The action.The simple badassery. I am so involved in this. WOW. I will post both reviews and JJ soon, and you will see the remarkable difference.

What have you been up to this month?

Happy Women’s Day South-Africa: Top 15 Favorite Kick-Ass female characters on screen

Today is Women’s Day here in South-Africa. Over here we like public holidays quite a bit (although India has TWENTY ONE), so we are all having a day off today – Whoop!

To celebrate, I made a list of strong female characters on screen. I think we can all agree that there are too few well written, complex female characters, but these ladies below are amazing and did their job extremely well in their respective films!

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Fifteen: The Black Widow – Marvel movies

Female superheroes have increased marginally, and I am really happy about that. My only negative comment is that I am confused why female superheroes need to either wear skin tight leather suits or skimpy Wonder Woman outfits while their male counterparts wears aerodynamically pleasing outfits or war clothing. We have a far way to still go in this genre, but at least we can all agree that Natasha Romanoff kicks ass multiple times on screen and is a fully functional member of the squad. I really enjoy this character, and I think Scarlett Johannson has done a great job bringing her to the screen. It annoyed me a bit that her infertility was this massive discussion in one of the movies – the reproductive capability of her male teammates have never been discussed.

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Fourteen: Katniss Everdeen

Katniss as a character has many flaws – she is selfish and can’t choose between two men. While that is certainly a crime, I have never been able to really judge her too harshly for it. Her world is dark and horrible, and she has nothing wonderful. Turning away from the caring of a good man? It seems nearly cruel to expect her to do that.

But despite this obvious flaw, I really thought the character was badass and capable, and honorable to take her younger sister’s place in a situation where she was guaranteed her death.

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Thirteen: Hermione Granger, The Harry Potter series

If this had been a literary list, Hermoine would have been much higher. Film Hermoine is great and Emma Watson did a good job with her, but my opinion remains that the film adaptions didn’t do justice to the sheer magnificence of the novels, on any level. Anyway, this isn’t a Harry Potter discussion, so I will just mention that Hermoine Granger is the reason those two boys stayed alive. She is strong, intelligent, fiercely loyal and brave, and her contribution to the wizarding world and the feminist cause must never be forgotten.

Elle woods

Twelve: Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

When Legally Blonde dropped in 2001, every single person on this planet was charmed by Reese Witherspoon and the ditzy genius she created. There were tiny dogs, buckets of pink, manicures and textbooks, all in one film. I placed Elle Woods on this list because we too often forget that it is perfectly possible for a woman to love pink, to be girly and to be very determined, intelligent and capable all at one time. Another excellent thing in the film was that sisterhood won out in the end, and Warner Hungtinton the Third was booted on his ass.

Caroline

Eleven: Caroline Forbes, The Vampire Diaries

As the only series character to make it on to this post, you must know that I am very much team Caroline. Another pretty blonde girl who shows determination, loyalty and passion for life! In season one, Caroline works on your nerves pretty much incessantly. She’s insecure and whiny, and seems to be shallow and petty. However, the second she becomes a vampire and she realises that she will live an eternity in her own head, she gets a grip in such a remarkable fashion that I became her biggest fan.

I am no man

“I am no man”

Ten: Eowyn, Lord of The Rings

Perhaps the lady with the most iconic quote on the list, Eowyn, shield maiden of Rohan, is on first impression another lady who waits while her beloved father figure wastes away at the hand of the dastardly Wormtongue and her brother rides to war against orcs. It quickly becomes clear that this is a proud woman who was raised by warriors, and that she is simply tired of being left behind while those she loves die around her. She finds a way on to the battlefield, and if that chilling and rousing speech Theoden gives before his final ride isn’t enough, Eowyn steals everyone’s thunder by killing the leader of the Nazgul. She also gets her super happy ending at the end, which pleased me to no end.

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Nine: The Bride, Kill Bill

Quentin Tarantino is a phenomenal film maker, and the roles he creates for women are legendary. The Bride is one such character, hell bent on revenge and making people pay for what was done with her. Uma Thurman brings this vengeful character to life with scary finesse, and even though this isn’t my favorite Tarantino film, the character itself is impressive as they come.

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Eight: Hit Girl, Kick-Ass

She’s super tiny, she swears like a sailor, she wears a bright purple wig and her father is Nicolas Cage. Who doesn’t love her? I was a major fan of both movies, and it would be amazing if they could make a third. Hit Girl is the best part of this franchise, showing that gender and size is insignificant when it comes to being a bad ass.

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Seven: Rey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The horror when Disney bought Star Wars was paramount. Everyone was sure it would be a disaster, and no one could even get a moment of sleep due to the inordinate amounts of stress this franchise was causing in their adult lives. LUCKILY, Disney actually ended up doing a great job, and introduced a bunch of new characters that were able to flow nicely with how things had been done in the past. One of the best new additions was Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, a survivor and a strong female character who can do things for herself. I really enjoyed this character – she is a fantastic blend of purity and strength and was wonderful and empowering to watch.

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL

Six: Rita Vrataski, The Edge of Tomorrow

A nice little situation of role reversal, Emily Blunt was a hardened war veteran who saved Tom Cruise’s ass REPEATEDLY from aliens. I loved the character – she was sassy, strong, smart and the heroine of the day.

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Five: Vesper Lynd, Casino Royale

Did you also just rub your heart because of the pain that shot through it when Vesper was mentioned? It HURTS. Vesper is hands down the best Bond girl that has ever been onscreen. Her sharp brain kept her well equipped to banter with Bond, and her eventual control over Bond ripped out my heart. The fact that Casino Royale is the best Bond film out there certainly helps, but this character in herself is powerful and strong and determined, attributes that were completely left out during the writing process for the other female characters over this incredibly long franchise.

Ellie Sattler Laura Dern

Four: Dr. Ellie Sattler, Jurassic Park

I mentioned in my review of Jurassic World that it felt awful to realize that Dr. Ellie Sattler, who was in the very original Jurassic Park in NINETEEN NINETY THREE was a better, well written and strong female character than the running-in-heels-Bryce-Dallas-Howard. Dr. Ellie Sattler, played by Laura Dern, is super smart, professional, excels in her field and gets to see Dinosaurs in JP. I have loved and admired this character from my childhood till now, and I am eternally grateful to the writers that they allowed this strong character to see the light.

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Three: M, The Bond Franchise

Dame Judi Dench is literal life goals. She is classy, successful and revered, and a girl can just dream to be her when she grows up. M is Bond’s boss, the only person who can try to control him, and their relationship is amazing and complex. I love the power of M, and Judi Dench is incredible to behold as this woman who puts her country above everything in her life.

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Two: Furiousa, Mad Max

Homegirl Charlize Theron teamed up with Tom Hardy in the return of Mad Max, and what a job she did. Furiousa is powerful and intense, and her survival skills in the mad world she finds herself in is incredible. The film should have been titled Furiousa, as it is about her and how she helped the wives escape from that dreadful man. The entire film is one big celebration of sisterhood and sticking together, and I could only cheer on the women as they battled for their freedom.

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One: Shoshanna Dreyfus, Inglorious Basterds

The final accolade was difficult to award, because all of the ladies on here are amazing. However, I do think that Shoshanna is worthy, and that her role in Inglorious Basterds is incredibly important. I loved her – her courage and determination, her absolute hatred of anything Nazi, and her eventual success at revenge.

Well, there you have it. There are hopefully a million other female characters that can be mentioned by you below, and I look forward to seeing your opinions!

Top Fifteen Favorite stars in young Hollywood

Woohoo! Happy Friday!! This post was supposed to be a Five things Friday but as you can see it escalated quite quickly! Here is some love for all the young ones in Hollywood… I know some of them can’t really be classified as really young, or even really good, but I like all of these for a variety of reasons. Read, enjoy, and let me know if you agree or disagree. I might just do one for older Hollywood too at a stage. I’ve linked to the posts of the movies I’ve reviewed of these stars so go take a look if you are wildly bored!

Emma Stone

Emma-Stone

Why I admire her: She is crazy talented, extremely funny and incredibly beautiful. She also seems to have a genuinely nice personality off screen, which is quite important to me.

Best role: What’s not to love? Zombieland, Easy A, Crazy Stupid Love, the list is endless.

Worst role: Ghost of Girlfriends Past

 Benedict Cumberbatch

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch poses for photographs on the red carpet for the new movie "The Imitation Game" during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Why I admire him: There is such a unique and startling quality to him. He is incredibly talented and well suited to his most famous role. He has these unique looks that make no sense. I’ve never pinpointed why he is so attractive – it shouldn’t work and yet it does extremely well.

Best role: Sherlock (as Sherlock Holmes)

Worst role: har-har

Emma Watson

Actress Emma Watson attends the "Noah" Germany Film Premiere at Zoo Palast on March 13, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (AP Photo/Axel Schmidt)

Why I admire her: Not only is she a staunch equal rights activist, Emma Watson has manage to exit her Harry Potter years with grace and determination. I honestly can’t wait for her to be Belle in the new Disney adaption!

Best Role: Perks of Being a Wallflower (as Sam)

Worst Role: Harry Potter (as Hermione Granger)

Chris Hemsworth

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Why I admire him: Hehe, he’s ridiculously hot. The muscles and arms and hair and eyes and length and did I mention muscles? I’ve mostly really just liked the look of him, but he really did impress in Rush, which makes me believe that he can be in some really good films in the future.

Best role: Rush (as James)

Worst role: Thor (as Thor)

Chris Evans

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Why I admire him: He has this extremely likable boy next door vibe. I also think he is exceptionally well cast as Steve Rogers, capturing that genuine essence of good so central to the character.

Best role: Captain America (as Steve Rogers)/Snowpiercer (as Curtis)

Worst role: Fantastic Four (as Human Torch)

Tom Hardy

 Tom-Hardy

Why I admire him: Well, duh. Look at him. He’s done some phenomenal roles as well, and has the extra addition of having pulled himself from a difficult past to be what he is today. #respect

Best role: Lawless (as Forrest Bondurant) and The Dark Night Rises (as Bane)

Worst Role: This Means War (as Tuck)

Andrew Garfield

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Why I admire him: He’s extremely cute and extremely likeable and very good in the things I’ve seen him in.

Best Role: The Amazing Spiderman (as Peter Parker)

Worst Role: I’ve only seen him in Never Let Me Go other than as Spidey, and I liked that too, so I guess I don’t have one for him

James McAvoy

 James McAvoy

Why I admire him: The Scottish accent, the brilliance of how he portrays Charles Xavier. The hair. The acting. Have I mentioned the Scottish accent?

Best role: X-men (as Professor X)

Worst role: Wanted (as Wesley Gibson). He wasn’t necessarily bad, I just didn’t like the movie at all.

Ryan Gosling

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Why I like him: He inspired the “Hey Girl” meme. He’s pretty good at acting. He is the best Nicholas Sparks hero ever. He was hilarious in Stupid Crazy Love. He’s pretty much the coolest.

Best role: Drive (as the Driver)

Worst role: I will say as Noah Calhoun in the Notebook, but he’s actually really good in that too

Emily Blunt

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Why I admire her: Her role as Rita. GIRL POWER. I also really enjoyed her in The Devil Wears Prada. She’s pretty cool.

Best role: Edge of Tomorrow (as Rita)

Worst role: The Five Year Engagement (as Violet)

Emilia Clark

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Why I admire her: She seems like a person who enforces her privacy, and I think it is really important if you want to stay sane in Hollywood. I really like her casting as Dany – she does such a great job. And how insanely beautiful is she?!?!

Best role: Game of Thrones (as Daenerys Targaryen)

Worst role: Has she even been in anything else?

Shailene Woodley

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She’s the girl who made us all cry uncontrollably last year. She’s quirky and the outrageous things she says keeps me laughing for days. She seems genuine and she has such great stores of talent that she’s busy developing.

Best role: The Fault in our Stars (as Hazel Grace Lancaster)

Worst role: Divergent (as Tris Prior)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

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Why I admire him: He’s the cute geeky kid who grew up. I would really like to see him lead in something now!

Best role: Ten Things I Hate about You (as Cameron James)

Worst role: Another actor that I find extremely enjoyable even when I don’t like the movie 😀

Zac Efron

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did your screen also steam up for a second? 

Why I admire him: The funny thing is that this guy still needs to prove himself. I just really enjoy his looks, although he hasn’t been atrocious in his work, even if the movies have been bad.

Best role: The Lucky One (as Logan Thibault)

Worst role: Highschool musical (as Tray Bolton)

Channing Tatum

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Why I admire him: He’s the extremely likable guy who finally made a name for himself.

Best role: 21/22 Jump Street (as Jenko)

Worst role: The Vow (as Leo)

 Honorable mentions: 

Ansel Elgort

Kit Harrington

Miles Teller

Chloe Grace Moretz (who recently won me over with Kick-Ass)

Rachel McAdams

Liam Hemsworth

Brit Robertson

What did you think? Let me know!

Movie Review: Noah (2014)

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Noah: Fire consumes all. Water cleanses. It separates the foul from the pure. The wicked from the innocent. And that which sinks from that which rises. He destroys all, but only to start again.

Plot synopsis: A man is chosen by his world’s creator to undertake a momentous mission before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the world. via IMDb

Rating: 6/10

In possibly the worst book adaption of the century, Russell Crowe stars as Noah, the iconic Ark building Biblical character. He is moody, prone to bitching and sulking, and thus I’ve deduced that Crowe merely imitated his own personality for this. Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson are also in here, and both are fine but it is clearly either’s best work. The shots where all the animals lie sleeping looked awfully fake, and I thought it was simply silly a few times. Anthony Hopkins is some sort of magical elder that cures Emma of her infertility, and I think he is left to drown, and I found that sad because he was so nice and all.

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I did like that Noah was portrayed as a human being. He isn’t a saint who never got mad, he was flawed and human and insecure. Noah’s eldest son was fine and I got why Emma had such a thing for him always, but I still felt sorry for the other son who had to leave behind his lady friend, once again to drown.

Basically, the movie is too long, and so different from the original version I don’t know who the target audience was – if not made for believers this movie doesn’t have enough weight to be considered good enough for other audiences. It is too long and too shabbily put together to be really impressive.

Movie Review: Perks of being a Wallflower (2012)

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Recommendations to watch a movie don’t always deliver on their promises, but I received enough to take a chance and watch this. It was a quiet Sunday night and being as it was only 1 hour and 45 minutes meant it went quickly and enjoyably. Amazingly enough the story is so well developed and everything gets explained in such a short amount of time. The cast isn’t exceptionally famous – Emma Watson and Dylan McDermot lead in that department, but the support cast were amazing and contributed towards the success of the film.

Charlie (Logan Lerman) is a shy teenager who is nervous about becoming a freshman in high school. He is so shy that he the only person he talks to on his first day is his English teacher Mr Anderson (Paul Rudd), who immediately notices his potential in the subject.

Charlie eventually makes friends with two seniors, Sam (Emma Watson) and her stepbrother Patrick (Ezra Miller). They become friends when they take him to a diner and Charlie even manages enough courage to join them on the dance floor at a school dance. At the house party afterwards, Charlie smokes weed and then tells Sam that his best friend committed suicide the previous year. It is one of the many sad things that surround Charlie and Sam and Patrick introduces him to their misfit friends.

Patrick, who is gay, tells Charlie about his relationship with Brad (Johnny Simmons), a popular and supposedly straight athlete. Charlie agrees to keep it quiet because Brad is terrified of his own homophobic father finding out. Charlie also starts helping Sam with preparations for retaking her SAT exams so that she can become a student at Pennsylvania State University. Sam kisses Charlie one night even though she plans to date someone else, and tells Charlie that she was molested as a little girl and also about how troubled her life was before she changed herself.

Charlie starts to date Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman) for a bit but eventually her overbearing nature leads to a breakup that Charlie handles extremely poorly. All his friends are furious with him for kissing Sam in a game of Truth or Dare (he had to kiss the prettiest girl in the room) and afterwards Patrick tells him it might be better if he steered clear of them for a bit.

Charlie’s condition worsens and he keeps having flashbacks to the car crash that killed his favorite aunt Helen (Melanie Lynskev).

Brad’s father finds out that he is gay when he catches Brad and Patrick having sex. He beats Brad as predicted and Patrick and Brad breaks up because of him. In the school cafeteria there is an altercation and Brad refuses to stand up against his friends to protect Patrick. Patrick hits him after Brad calls him a faggot, and Brad’s friends immediately start beating him up. Charlie comes to his rescue and saves Patrick, but can’t remember how he beat so many boys that were all larger than him. Afterwards he is reunited with his friends.

Sam finds out that she has been accepted into University and that she needs to leave immediately. She and Charlie kisses and when she touches his leg he immediately moves away because it triggers childhood memories.

The following day Charlie keeps having flashbacks of his aunt and calls his sister. He tells her that it is his fault his aunt died and she immediately notices that Charlie is suicidal. She calls the police and Charlie is taken to a mental healthcare facility where he starts recovering. His doctor finally gets him to tell that his aunt molested him as a child, and when his parents find out they are heartbroken. He is eventually able to go home, and when his friends return for vacation he and Sam kisses again.

Rating: 8.5/10

Perks is a beautiful, beautiful movie. It has been a while since I’ve seen a movie of this quality. It manages to address so many issues in society: depression, sexuality, molestation, and guilt and peer pressure. It reminded me to be kinder towards teenagers – not only do they have all these issues to deal with but they are also locked up with another 1000 bunch of walking hormones for eight hours a day.

Charlie was such a sad and powerful character. As more of his past comes known your heart just continues to break for him. Eventually when I found out what really happened to him I was so angry and sad.

Emma Watson, post Hermoine Granger, is entertaining to watch. From the days of the Philosopher’s Stone she has developed exponential acting abilities, and I would be the first to say that her previous franchise didn’t use it correctly. She is sweet as Sam, a nice girl who has had rough patches in her life. As an actress Emma should stick with these quirky, intelligent roles, it really suits her.

This is definitely the best coming of age film I’ve seen ever and I highly recommend it. It is a good enough movie for older people to watch even though the movie is about teenagers.