By: Miranda Rester | Editor
Fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower can rejoice in another movie that mixes love, maturity, and adventure flawlessly. Underappreciated dramas tend to be my favorite movies, and I’ve found a new favorite in The Art of Getting By. The 2011 movie didn’t receive very high reviews from any movie critics, but it deserves so much more recognition than it has been given.
Emma Roberts follows beautifully in her aunt’s, Julia Roberts, footsteps and is a captivating actress. She plays the role of free-spirited Sally Howe. Roberts does an excellent job of showing how heartbroken Sally has become since her father walked out and her mother began bringing men in and out of Sally’s life. She strives to hide her fragility under a confident exterior, but her mannerisms and choices throughout the movie portray a scared, hurt girl.
Freddie Highmore plays George, an awkward high school student with a fatalist’s outlook on life, an outlook that begins when his birth father stops treating him like a son and more like a burden. After he turns seven, George never hears from his father again. The only connection left between them is the check his father sends every month to pay his private school tuition. George becomes an introvert because he’s afraid of being abandoned again.
When George saves Sally from being expelled because she smoked on campus, she returns the favor by becoming his only friend. As with any good adolescent drama, George inevitably falls for her. However, the emotionally damaged girl never simply returns the love given to her by the quiet, smart boy. Sally’s mother tells her one night, “You need to stop hanging out with George. I’ve played with men’s emotions my whole life, but you never do it to the good ones.”
After a Valentine’s Day gone wrong, George realizes that Sally will never love him back, and he is not prepared to be part of her mature, adult world. George cuts her completely out of his life, and his heartbreak causes him to completely shut down. His senior year takes a turn for the worst as he fails every class, and he can no longer see a glimmer of light in the world.
When you throw George’s art mentor Dustin (Michael Angarano) into the equation, things get messy. After his mother and step-father find out that George is failing, his home life falls to pieces, and he turns to Sally for help. He arrives unannounced on her doorstep to find Sally and Dustin together.
After unpredictable twists and turns, The Art of Getting By pulls on your heart strings and ultimately makes you feel something when you watch it.