Ever have one of those films that affect you on a visceral level?
Yes for me, The Perks of Being a Wallflower was one of those films.
It wasn’t the drug use, suicide, sexual abuse or even the scenes of Charlie being abandoned by his friends (okay that one did hit home with me) – it was flashback of his aunt Helen being broadsided on the highway.
Worse yet, they repeated that scene two more times during the course of the film.
The difference is: I survived. My car – my first car – was totaled just four days after buying it. According to both the police, the court and my insurance company, it was totaled by me, the latter adding insult to injury by dropping my coverage.
No drugs or alcohol involved, I just needed to turn left from the highway onto the street just 200 yards from my apartment. My only crime was that I didn’t see the teenager coming over the slight ridge in the road and assumed it was safe to go,
In the ER, the cops took a statement from the teenaged driver. It consisted entirely of: “HE JUST TURNED IN FRONT OF ME!”
I could STILL hear her agonized shout several months later – along with the sound of screeching rubber and feel the explosion of the airbag upon impact. I haven’t gotten behind the wheel of a car since – neither the state nor my insurance company will allow it. Reason #2 I moved to Baltimore (though in retrospect, Philadelphia might have been a better choice as their system actually works).
Like the characters in the movie, my flashbacks have subsided in the past few years (don’t worry, I’ve found other things to endlessly repeat in my head)…until seeing that scene 3 times during the course of the film.