The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
Owes its success to the dazzling reality of the situations as if stolen from the audience’s very own adolescence.
As the argument goes, it is rare to find a film that is better than the novel it is based on. This is simply because the cinematic representation can never quite hold the writers imagination or match the depth and layered details found amongst the printed page. The Perks of Being a Wallflower directed by Stephen Chbosky however holds a defiant advantage in the fact that it was also written by Stephen Chbosky. As a coming-of-age tale the film owes its success to the dazzling reality of the situations as if stolen from the audience’s very own adolescence. It is in these subtle moments that the film comes alive, with the quiet realizations that everything happening on the screen is not just about Chbosky’s characters but all of us, as well.
Charlie (Logan Lerman), the character in question, is a young freshman starting his first year of high school and he narrates us through the story from his perspective partly involved, and partly detached up on the wall as a ‘wallflower’. Obviously a unique person, Charlie at the beginning of the story is something of an introvert without any friends outside his family. However this changes when he meets Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), two seniors who take an interest in him and show him an alternate life. For the first time ever, Charlie goes to parties, music shows, hangs out with people and most importantly feels noticed, as if he is participating more in life.
The problem with this film is reading a review or hearing about it from someone simply cannot do it justice. That is thanks to countless terrible high school and college set rom-coms, which tarnish the whole subject greatly. The Perks of Being a Wallflower however is different and so should be treated differently. It holds a perfect balance in between a film with no substance and of one entrenched too far in the wrong emotions, tackling deep life issues but with humour sprinkled in the right moments. Underpinning this all is the psychological elements that Charlie and the other characters face stemming from some past traumatic events, which is something that adds character depth. This appeals to a wide audience and is again a reason for the film’s success as many people can connect with the issues on screen, ranging from, paedophilia, domestic abuse, suicide, homophobia, sexual exploration and of course unrequited love. This all becomes obvious between the characters through subtle, shared moments much like in real life and to the audience through the use of dream-like flashbacks, which adds an element of surrealism.
Helping greatly in the film’s success is the outstanding acting talents that shine through the film. Logan Lerman playing Charlie pulled off the awkwardly unique freshman perfectly and set himself out boldly as a new face. Emma Watson playing Sam pushes herself in all the right directions away from previous roles to mature and expand into new realms of cinema. However the main credit must fall to Ezra Miller playing Patrick, very much a dark horse he appears to be doing everything right to progress in the acting world, and he is doing so at an alarming rate. All three of them, brilliantly casted, really do make the film what it is and watching from the audience, you can’t help but think that Logan, Emma and Ezra have been waiting for these roles.
Anyone who watches The Perks of Being a Wallflower without prior knowledge of the story is in for the emotional and strikingly real performance promised, something you will wish could be relived. And likewise anyone who is already a fan of the novel will be happy to see the characters they know and love in a different format, continuing on past the pages onto the screen, as if they truly do mean something.