Movie Review – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

WARNING: Spoilers. There are plot giveaways in this review. (But nothing big so stop having a cry and read the damn review!)



IMDB Rating: 8.1 out of 10 (113,899 votes)

Director: Stephen Chbosky

The poster for The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The poster for The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

If there’s a downside to The Perks of Being a Wallflower – which there’s only few of – it would be that the movie ends with a completely meaningless line. It’s a line that contradicts what the film is all about – meaning something.

Besides that though, this film is really good.

There’s this unusually unpredictable feeling I felt while watching – experiencing, rather – this film, whose concept isn’t anything new. The whole “new guy struggling to make friends” story isn’t an original idea to any director testing himself by taking it on. But somehow, the director Stephen Chbosky has conveyed and created a completely genuine feel to the story.

The subject matter of The Perks of Being a Wallflower is undoubtedly about fitting in. But what I find amazing is that the subtext I picked up on, was finding friends in unlikely places. Now, you may think that it’s not a great subtext to set in a school. But Chbosky conveys his messages so well in this film, that it’s hard not to be amazed. He really does say true to that subtext in every possible way – and knowingly creates an enveloping environment around our main character, Charlie.

These guys are just the coolest people ever.

These guys are just the coolest people ever.

That brings us to possibly the best thing about this film – the characters.

Logan Lerman plays Charlie, the introvert freshman, and Lerman is simply phenomenal. He’s electric. He hasn’t done anything of note before, besides the underwhelming Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, but his on-screen maturity was outstanding. He was helped out by Chbosky’s script, which was, much like Lerman himself, a triumph.

Then there’s Ezra Miller’s character, Patrick, who’s a very, very well written character. Not only is he a big influence on Charlie, but his personal life becomes more and more relevant as the movie goes on. I do think, however, that it was a shame putting in the whole “gay” thing – a plot development used way too often in movies like this. It seems a bit ‘Glee’ to me.

At first, having Emma Watson sounding like an American just didn’t seem right to me. Her accent was good, but honestly, I was such a big fan of the first three Harry Potter films – films that I watched over and over again – that seeing her speak anything but British didn’t seem correct in any sense. But as I became more enveloped in the film, I noticed it less and less, and Watson ended up blowing me away. She’s pretty good looking, too.

He's just misunderstood.

He’s just misunderstood.

Chbosky’s screenplay was a major strength. After the substance-less garbage that was ‘Oblivion’, and the poorly developed action film ‘Olympus Has Fallen’, it’s refreshing to see a legitimately well-developed script get sold in Hollywood. It seems that independent films nowadays are getting better and better, because the scripts are being properly re-written and developed. Producers are investing time and money into making good movies. That’s one of the huge problems with Australian film – we struggle to develop scripts, which is probably why we make such bad movies 90% of the time. But that’s a story for another day…

The Perks of Being a Wallflower had a distinct style, with youth culture being at the forefront. I liked how it got in touch with the modern side of things too, especially with a lot of retro culture (a.k.a mixtapes and records) being brought back in to today’s youth society.

The cinematography was really great, bringing a style relevant to today to the screen. The colours early in the film reflected the shady mood clouding Charlie. But once he met Sam and Patrick, the screen brightened up, highlighted by any scene in Sam’s room – dominated by red, the colour of love.

Michael Brook’s score was spectacularly tasteful. It payed respect to the multiple moods of the film, while staying true to the principles of writing music for an emotional rollercoaster such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

"I didn't know anyone noticed me."

“I didn’t know anyone noticed me.”

Chbosky’s direction – in particular the scenes passing through the tunnel – rivaled that of Jack Reacher’s car chase scene, in terms of great angles. Chbosky stuck to the plan in terms of direction, and ended up producing a brilliantly clean film, with plenty of substance and lots of heart.

I appreciated how this wasn’t your ordinary high school story. It went deeper and deeper into the realm of a teenage mind. It made you feel something more than simple emotions commonly found in many bland films within the Teen category. It was a Teen film with a very adult feel.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower was a very good film, whichever way you look at it. It was very well styled and directed by Stephen Chbosky, who decided – and rightfully so – to move away from the typical Teen film, and decided to make an Adult film using teens as the characters. It was fascinating to watch unfold.

This was one of the best films I’ve seen this year.

MY RATING: 8.5 out of 10.

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