Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

lauren stern is no jakob dylan…

Plot: After a rough year, Charlie (Logan Lermin) enters high school looking for a fresh start. He makes friends with two seniors Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), who expose him to their world filled with sex, drugs, good music, and what it’s like to truly feel infinite.

Anyone who knows me well knows that Perks of Being a Wallflower is not just my favorite book but the one piece of literature that changed my life forever. At the time I read it, I was a young, lost teenage girl, in the process of finding herself, and just searching for something real to connect with. After reading 213 pages in about 3 hours one insomnia-filled night, I not only found that relatable something I was looking for but gained an entirely new perspective about the world and the human condition.

Since the book had such a huge impact on me, I was really nervous about how Charlie’s story was going to be interpreted in the film (especially after watching the sucky adaption of my other favorite book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close). Finding out Stephen Chbosky (the author of Perks) was writing and producing the film was certainly a plus, but regardless I was still left with a ton of concerns.

Now that I saw the film for the first (and hopefully not) the last time, I’m proud to admit that my expectations and worries were both wrong and stupid. The film wasn’t totally impeccable but it certainly was a more-than justifiable representation of the book. Chbosky and the cast did a great job bringing his work to life and I was overall impressed that I left the theater feeling the same way I did when I picked up the book six years ago.

The best part of the Perks of Being a Wallflower was the casting choices. Every actor and actress did a great job of accurately representing the characters, which usually doesn’t happen in film adaptions of books. Emma Watson and Ezra Miller were the true breakout starts of the film and should be proud of themselves for flawlessly depicting the Sam and Patrick, which are essentially the two most important characters needed in order to understand Charlie and his story. Though these performances were really the most prominent, there couldn’t have been a more perfect cast overall. Re-writing the story was definitely important in this case, but having such a great group of actors/actresses is what really put this movie over the top.

The only disappointment I had and the main reason why I thought the film wasn’t a spot-on representation of the book was how Charlie’s relationship with his English teacher Bill Anderson (Paul Rudd) was presented. In the book, Charlie had an intimate relationship with Bill but that wasn’t really shown in the film at all. Instead, viewers were left with the impression that they strictly had an academic relationship. I blame this on Charlie calling Bill “Mr. Anderson” which doesn’t happen in the book. Every time Rudd appeared on screen I was desperately hoping to hear “Bill” come out of Charlie’s mouth at some point during the scene. It didn’t happen and it drove me crazy the entire time I was watching the film.

Despite this, fans of the book Perks of Being a Wallflower can breathe easy after seeing it’s film counterpart. Chbosky really did an amazing job and was very successful in taking the movie adaption under his wing. This is definitely hands down the best film adaption of a book ever and certainly one of the best and most heartwarming films of this year.

Rating: 9 out of 10

4 COMMENTS

  1. I never did get around to reading this book but between the trailers and the warmth of its critical reception I’m more than willing to catch this in theaters this week (It just expanded to Seattle)

    Great review 🙂

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