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Perks of Being a Wallflower, The

Summit Entertainment // PG-13 // September 21, 2012
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Anrdoezrs]

Review by Jeff Nelson | posted September 21, 2012 | E-mail the Author

Coming-of-age stories have become incredibly popular in young adult literature. While some of them may be great on paper, the film adaptations can be disappointing. Sometimes they're melodramatic, making them feel similar to soap operas. A well-known young adult novel called The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been seen as an important book for many teenagers. Younger readers are able to identify with the protagonist and some of the issues that he's confronted with, such as love, depression, and loneliness. The story is told from the perspective of a high school freshman dealing with adolescence, which is a point in life that everybody can relate to. This is a film that tugs on the heartstrings, but also has meaningful messages to get across such as being there for friends and that everybody has their own problems. Nobody has a perfect life and it's all about how you handle it.

Charlie (Logan Lerman) is a troubled high school freshman counting down the days until he graduates. He's a bright, yet naive outsider who has a difficult time meeting new people. After a rough first day at school, the only person he's able to befriend is his English teacher, Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd). At a football game at school, he meets seniors Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson). They welcome him into their group of friends. They become the only people to hold him together as much more serious issues rise to the surface.

When a film is adapted from a novel, quite a few of the fans become irritated that it will be ruined by making a large amount of unnecessary changes. The Perks of Being a Wallflower couldn't possibly be in more capable hands. Stephen Chbosky, the author of the book, wrote the screenplay and directed the feature himself. Any manipulations made to the material were decided by the creator. Chbosky hasn't made very many movies, although he has done a good job with The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He sets up the movie with ease and creates a connection between the characters and the audience fairly quickly by using comedy as the hook. The dialogue is incredibly witty when it wants to be. Realism is an important tool that's utilized from start to finish.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower has a charm that's rare to find in a coming-of-age film. It captures its viewers from the beginning and develops its characters very nicely. They have layers of depth, making it feel that much more personal, while a lot of these flicks aren't able to deliver characters that audiences truly care about. However, I'm not as thrilled about how Charlie's dilemma is handled. His family continues to bring up a past issue, which isn't discussed in detail until the end of the movie. It's a bit excessive to constantly remind the audience of this to only delay the actual explanation. Despite this small issue, the script is well-written.

The story of Charlie's first year of high school is greatly enhanced by a talented cast. Logan Lerman plays the protagonist quite well. He's believable in Charlie's awkward persona. He wins moviegoers over quickly and makes us actually care about what happens to him. Emma Watson is able to break away from the image we've had of her playing Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter franchise. She's genuine in the role and plays off a younger character with ease. Ezra Miller is fantastic as Patrick. He effortlessly plays the role and displays his suppressed pain well. Miller is an actor that just might be on the uprise to stardom. Paul Rudd is known for playing roles in raunchy comedies, but he delivers a much more subdued performance than what we're used to seeing from him as Mr. Anderson, which is a nice change. The Perks of Being a Wallflower has some strong performances.

This is a film that has an effect that not many movies in the drama genre are able to deliver, which is to actually get an emotional reaction out of viewers. The story is relatable and it really reaches out to audiences by drawing moviegoers in with a group of charming characters. There are some really dramatic moments, but it never becomes melodramatic. Whether or not you've read the book, I recommend that you should go see this if you're looking for a genuine and heartfelt film. There are some touchy subject matters, but they're dealt with very appropriately. The Perks of Being a Wallflower comes highly recommended as a well-made coming-of-age film.



Highly Recommended

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