The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Directed By: Stephen Chbosky
Written By: Stephen Chobsky
Starring: Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd, Emma Watson
Reviewed By: Tori Yonnker
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” directed by Stephen Chbosky, is a coming-of-age tale that everyone can relate to. Charlie (Logan Lerman) is a 15-year-old who is about to start high school; he narrates the film through written letters to an unknown person, a “Dear Friend.”
He begins high school with no friends, but at a football game meets seniors Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson) who befriend him immediately. The film continues by following individual stories that all tie into each other. Patrick, who is gay, has a secret relationship with a football player. This football player is from a very Christian family, has a hard time coming to terms with his sexuality, and is beaten when his father catches him and Patrick together.Charlie has a crush on Sam, who is three years older than Charlie. Sam’s sexual abuse by older men and her subsequent lack of self-respect has made her constantly reach out to men who put her down, and Charlie watches Sam get hurt by a college boy before trying to be with Sam himself.Charlie’s sister experiences physical abuse from her boyfriend, and Charlie has trouble understanding why she loves him. But finally, Charlie realizes that he, too, was sexually abused by his Aunt Helen, which is why he has awful flashbacks pertaining to the memory of his deceased aunt.
There are also instances of experimenting with psychedelic drugs and alcohol. These stories and experiences are so all-encompassing that it would be difficult to find a person that could not relate to this story line in one way or another. Everyone is or has been or is going to be a teenager.
Director Stephen Chbosky was also the author of the novel and the screenplay; he cast all of the characters and set all of the scenes. I usually have issues with book-to-film adaptations in that I picture a scenario in my head when I’m reading a book, and this scenario is completely ripped to shreds when I see the movie. But because the author was also the director, we read what Chbosky means for us to read, and we also see what Chbosky means for us to see. It is not some cheap interpretation from an outside source; this movie comes straight from the mind of the novel’s creator. Every single character looks and acts exactly how I pictured them to be in the novel; the movie seems to be made for just you, reaching out and saying, “No matter who you are, I get it, and I understand.” The quotes, the genuine adolescence, the real situations; without trying to sound corny, this movie gets me every time.
I would, however, recommend reading the novel before seeing the movie. Some parts were left out of the movie or understated, such as Charlie’s relationship with his English teacher and his sister’s abortion.
My only criticism would be Emma Watson’s American accent; it was totally awful, and sometimes that took away from the mood of the scene, but other than that I absolutely love this movie.
3 out of 3 guys