Monday, 15 October 2012

Film Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower 
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Production Company: Summit Entertainment
Release Date: September 28th, 2012
Genre: Drama

Not long after the suicide of his best friend, Charlie (Logan Lerman) is starting high school and couldn’t be more friendless. In his letters to someone he doesn’t even know, Charlie reveals his fears and innermost thoughts. When he becomes friends with the exciting duo of Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), Charlie is introduced to a world of the typical teenage rites of passage, from first kisses to first time doing drugs, but he also finds people who don’t see him as just a wallflower to look past. Based on the 1999 novel of the same name, The Perks of Being a Wallflower was written and directed by Stephen Chbosky, which isn’t something that happens very often. For book to movie adaptations, there are always two ways to judge them: both as a stand-alone film and as a retelling of the novel. Just looking at it as a movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the best teen movie I’ve seen in ages, and is not comparable to anything else. Taking an epistolary novel and turning it into a film is always difficult, but Perks manages to pull it off. The acting was very well done, and the actors helped make a very emotional film that had a strong affect on me. The three leads were just phenomenal: Emma Watson’s expression alone sometimes were enough to break your heart and Ezra Miller made Patrick hilarious, while also showing how he was the rock of the group and how he tried to hide his own pain. Charlie is a very difficult character to pull off, mainly due to how emotional and passive he is, but I think that Logan Lerman did a great job. I thought that the film spoke truthfully about high school, and even though Perks is set in the early 1990’s the story is still relevant today, although mixed tapes are out. It really was just a beautiful film that could make you feel the full gamut of emotions.

As an adaptation of a much-loved novel, I thought that Perks was one of the best I’ve seen. Of course, not everything is included in the film, like with any book turned into a movie. You could look at this as a good thing in a way, since one of the main criticisms of this book is that too many things happen to the characters, to the point that it feels unrealistic. Having loved many books that have been made into films, I long ago accepted that not everything can make it into a film. Not only that, but things that work on the page don’t necessarily work on the screen. It’s been a year since I read the book, but it was mainly little things that were removed, such as the reading of the poem, with one of the bigger things omitted being part of Charlie’s sister’s storyline. Most of the things I can think of that were not included didn’t really tie into the main plotline, or wouldn’t have worked as well in the film. Some things, mainly conversations, were added to the film and we also got to learn more details about characters. Most importantly, the film beautifully captured the spirit of the book, which is a difficult thing to translate onto film since the entire book is told through letters. There were parts that worked better on film than in the book, in my opinion, such as the ending and the “infinite” scenes. Overall, this was a great film that I would recommend to everyone, whether you read and liked the book or not. If you have only seen the movie and enjoyed it, then I would definitely recommend reading the book, which is always a different experience and will add so much to the story and characters you already know. I only wish that every book I love could be made into a movie that is directed by the author. The Perks of Being a Wallflower stayed true to the book in creating a film that makes you want to laugh and cry.



  1. I'm dying to see this movie, glad it lived up to expectations :)

  2. I'm so glad you loved it! I'm dying to see it, but I was worried I'd be disappointed.

  3. I have a feeling I'm going to have to wait until the DVD realise as I can't get anyone to go and see it!

  4. One of the absolute best films about surviving High School ever made.
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