Who are you? This question could be exceedingly intricate to answer if you were to ask an adolescent. Teens are experiencing countless changes in their development, which is why it is such a significant time for them. During this time teenagers develop their sense of self. Film has helped portray some of the changes that occur during this evolving developmental period. For this paper, I will be describing the differences between two adolescent films to depict differences in developing the self. Some differences I will cover include types of self, Erickson’s Identity Crisis, Marcia’s Identity Status Interview theory, and culture over time.(Arnett, 2013)
Perks of Being a Wallflower (Halfon, Malkovich, Smith & Chbosky, 2012), is a film that takes place in the south, about a freshman named Charlie, who starts high school with no friends. He just wants to be accepted by his peers and fit in. The Wallflowers, which are seniors, take him under their wing and give him the opportunity to experience the life of being divergent.
Can’t Buy Me Love (Mount & Rash, 1987) is a film about a freshman named Ronnie who has had a life-long crush on the neighbor Cindy. Ronnie's drawback is that he is a nerd whereas Cindy is considered the most beautiful girl in school. The movie continues to tell the story of how he ended up buying her love for one month and how it changed his high school life.
Even though both of these movies have the same type of plot, scenes, and age groups, there is plenty of contrast between their self -identity. The first of which I would like to discuss, is the type of self being portrayed by both main characters.
There are many types of self that people can fit into. There is who I am (actual self), who I might become (possible self), who I would like to be (ideal self), and who I dread becoming (feared self). (Arnett, 2013) Throughout Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie was portraying more of his actual self than any other type of self. For example, when he was playing truth or dare, he was asked to kiss the most beautiful girl in the room. Even though he was dating Marie Beth, he still kissed Sam because he didn’t want to hide or lie about it. He was also not afraid to get up in front of the whole school and defend his best friend. When Patrick was being called names and tripped for being gay, Charlie selflessly stood up for him, even though he knew people might even think he was gay for doing so. He always did what he wanted to do and never let anyone including himself stray from who they truly are. (Halfon, Malkovich, Smith & Chbosky, 2012) On another note, you have Ronnie. Most of the film he was portraying his ideal self. A prime example of this is when the report cards came in the mail for the semester. He and his family were sitting around the dinner table and his parents were reading his little brother's report card. Afterwards, they asked Ronnie where his were and he claimed he hadn’t received his report card and that it...