Based on the book written in 1999, The Perks of Being a Wallflower provides a unique insight into the world of a teenager who doesn’t quite fit in. It also serves as an acknowledgement of teenagers who may be dealing with some of the many issues that are addressed in the film (suicide, rape, drugs, dating violence, etc.).
The 2012 film centers around Charlie (Played by Logan Lerman), a teen with prior struggles with mental health issues, who enters his freshman year hoping to get a fresh start. He is welcomed into a new group by two upperclassmen, Sam and Patrick (Played by Emma Watson and Ezra Miller), who welcome him with open arms into their own group of outcasts.
The movie is both written and directed by the book’s author (Stephen Chbosky), who has also done work on movies including Beauty and the Beast (2017) and Allegiant (2016). The film is very moving and inspiring at times, though the plot can sometimes get a bit overly cluttered due to the extensive list of issues that the story touches upon.
Being the director of the film as well as the author of the book that it is adapted from certainly gives Chbosky an advantage. Being able to directly influence the making of the film based on his very personal knowledge of the book pays off through the excellent cinematography and directing work found in the film. It captures many important elements of the story and incorporates some unique directing choices (such as with some of the scene transitions) that enhance the audience’s experience.
Throughout the movie, Charlie begins to discover that his new friends deal with struggles of their own. Various sub-plots come from this, one of which being a conflict between Patrick, his lover Brad, and Brad’s father (who never actually makes a physical appearance in the movie). Ezra Miller seems to fully embrace Patrick’s character. He carries out the role brilliantly, and expertly tackles the task of being one of the films only sources of comedic relief.
Emma Watson’s character Sam has her own small sub-plot and backstory that the audience gets a small peek into in the film. Her past reputation and experience with earlier romantic relationships, helps build up her complex character. Watson handles the complicated role well. For the most part, she seems to execute every serious, fun-loving, heartfelt and emotional scene with ease.
For Charlie, Sam and Patrick serve as a sort of grounding influence. He begins to find a place where he is accepted rather than simply drifting through life. He is suddenly being included rather than being an outcast and learns throughout the film how to loosen up at times and let his personality shine through his quiet exterior. The story is enhanced with many supporting actors who also leave an impression by playing their small yet important roles with ample emotion and dedication (Such as Nina Dobrev as Candace, Mae Whitman as Mary Elizabeth, and Paul Rudd as Mr.Anderson).
The modern coming of age motion picture tells a very complex story that can only be supported by some of the most dedicated and fitting actors for the role (which it is). The many different issues that are addressed in the film assist it in reaching out to and having a personal effect on all kinds of people. Stephen Chbosky’s exquisite directing work only clinches the emotional hook that this insightful film has on it’s audience.◆
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Writer/Director: Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Ezra Miller
Running time: 103 minutes
Release date: September 2012