The past seven days

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows an introvert boy named Charlie as he starts his freshman year of high school. He watches from the sidelines until two seniors, Sam and Patrick, take him under their wings and introduce him to their group of friends where he learns lessons on high school, sexuality, drugs, and life in general.

I knew The Perks of Being a Wallflower was based on a book and despite not reading the book I decided to watch the movie anyway. There are two main reasons I chose to watch before reading:

1. Stephen Chbosky wrote the screenplay and directed the film. Chbosky also wrote the original book, so I felt that having the original author carrying this movie about his own book was a good sign that it wouldn't disappoint from the source material.

2. My (terrible) city didn't have a single theater that carried this movie when it was released, so I really had no choice but to wait until it came out on DVD. I bought it on the release date and watched it that night.

Now... I really loved this movie. I cannot even begin to describe how watching this movie made me feel and really why I loved it so much. It sounds incredibly cliche and I hate using this, but it got it. It understood the feeling you get entering high school and being alone. It got the feeling of finally being accepted by someone. It just got it.
I obviously felt strongly about the plot. It was well carried out and put together. It left you in the dark about some things throughout most of the movie, like Charlie's flashbacks and exactly what he was able to not think about all the time, but it didn't leave you so in the dark that you felt confused. I also felt the style of having Charlie's letters to the unnamed friend being the narrative was brilliant. It gave the perfect internal dialogue to explain the situations with the other characters that it made you feel like you were thinking of it yourself.  I give that a big thumbs up.

As far as characters go I think they were all very well played and well acted.
I was impressed with Logan Lerman because, let's be honest, I haven't ever thought of him as anything but the little kid from The Butterfly Effect or Hoot. Let me say that I think he has a bright career ahead of him if he makes good choices in what roles he accepts. He did a great job with the character of Charlie and I really enjoyed him.
Emma Watson was also a delight because she has proven to me that she is more than Hermione Granger. She is a very believable actress and I thought she was the perfect choice for Sam. My only problem is I think she was a little too put together given her character's history and reputation, but I still enjoyed it. I don't think it necessarily took away from the character.
Despite being impressed with the others I have to say my favorite was Ezra Miller. Hands down. I feel like he wasn't even trying and that's what made it so great. I really liked him in We Need to Talk About Kevin and with The Perks of Being a Wallflower he showed he is really versatile and has a lot of compassion on the screen and with his characters. He was the most believable for me and I loved the character of Patrick in general. He wanted other people to be happy and I feel like he did that so he could be happy right along with them.

Another thing I loved is it didn't exploit the experiences that Charlie was introduced to. Things like drug use, alcohol consumption, sex, and understanding the concept of friendship weren't portrayed as the cool thing to do as a teenager. It was just the stuff he was introduced to after meeting Sam and Patrick that Charlie just kind of rolled along with. From what I have heard from those who have read the book that was a big difference as some felt the book did exploit the experiences and made it sound like Charlie did them to continue to be accepted. I don't know for sure because I haven't read it yet but that is what I've heard. They also cast actors close to the ages of their characters which was nice. I'm sick of teenagers being played by 27-year olds.

The only weird part for me was, and this is very small of a complaint, but I think the fact that the seniors had no sense of just how young Charlie was compared to them was a bit unrealistic. There was a good 3-4 year difference between Charlie and his friends and the fact that they seemed to have no sense of "wait this kid is 14-15" didn't seem to cross their minds at any point was kind of weird. I also found it weird that Charlie's sister seemed to have no clue about his friendship with the kids in her grade level. She obviously cared about her brother but she didn't seem to have any interest in who he was hanging out with.

Other than that small complaint I want to reiterate that this was a very good movie. It was put together well and it was truthful. I plan to read the book before too long but this movie easily gets a 90% rating from me. Since Tuesday I have watched it three times.

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