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I'm just a little older than the time of the film, and a Pittsburgh native too. So the setting rings a lot of bells for me.
I've not read the book yet, but the movie was endearing and feels honest, without being nostalgic or trying to hard to be "grity" and "relevant".
I enjoyed all the characters (even most of the supporting ones) being more than just a single thing - lots of flesh on the writing of them. It's what made the film feel more genuine.
The things that stick are the dual timeless ones of finding your own place in the world, and figuring out your self worth. The fact that it wasn't just the main character on this path, but instead a significant number of the cast is something that really helps the film. It's not just about Charlie - it's about all of the kids and how they cope with the daunting task of growing up.
Ultimately, it just gave me a warm, happy feeling touched with sadness, and I think that's what I liked best: a story that didn't sugar coat things, didn't try to say it's all going to work out swell for everyone, but did show that things CAN change for the better, and that life is something worth while. Particularly that there are people in life who make it joyful.
And that's a message that resounds, and we all can stand to hear a bit more of.
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