The Perks of Being a Wallflower: A Review
by Louisa Moore on Friday, November 2nd, 2012
Instead of attending the “Swap It” dance, I spent last Friday evening at the movie theater watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The irony of this decision wasn’t what drew me to it. My cross-country coaches advised me to see a film, not because they loved Wallflower, but because they always say we need to rest the night before a race and are consequently not exactly huge fans of Friday night dances. Since they cannot prevent people from having fun altogether, they instead tell us to dance with frequent breaks. As an alternative, I thought sitting in a dark movie theater with my feet up would probably be fine. Even though I managed to arrive just as the commercials were ending and the movie was starting and got stuck with a seat in the second row, I was content.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which hit theaters about a month ago, is the story of Charlie, an introverted teen, who is just entering his freshman year of high school. Learning to survive school both socially and academically, he has a difficult time without very many friends. Eventually, however, he is befriended by Sam, played by Emma Watson, and Patrick (Ezra Miller), step-siblings who are both seniors. Sam and Patrick introduce Charlie to a new world of friends and parties. Unfortunately, however, Charlie cannot escape his rough childhood. After mourning at age seven the death of his aunt Helen and coping at age fourteen with the suicide of a best friend, Charlie has been hospitalized twice for psychological treatment. When Sam, Patrick, and some other senior friends leave for college, Charlie slips into relapse.
The cast features a handful of stars, most notably Emma Watson and Logan Lerman, who play the main characters Sam and Charlie, respectively. Watson, of course, is known mostly for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series. She has moved on from this defining role with her new pixie haircut, breaking away from that familiar shoulder-length wavy hair. She also has a good “American” accent, though at times she did sound somewhat British. Logan Lerman is probably most well known from the Percy Jackson series, based on the books of the same name. Other notable cast include Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries and Paul Rudd from I Love You, Man and The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
As I snacked on my candy, I rode an emotional roller coaster, close to tears one minute and smiling the next. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is not a movie for those who dislike this emotional up-and-down. Go see Pitch Perfect or another more upbeat movie instead. Indeed, within the first ten minutes, Wallflower took a depressing turn.
The movie is also somewhat confusing for those who have not read the book. Both the book and the film, written and directed by Stephen Chbosky, feature a series of letters from Charlie to his best friend, who had committed suicide the spring before. At points, Charlie transitions abruptly to such letters, in ways which are unclear to people unfamiliar with the novel. The movie also skimmed over some crucial background in Charlie’s life, including the death of his aunt Helen – an event that shapes the events of the narrative. Despite these minor problems, everyone I have talked to about The Perks of Being a Wallflower loved it. It was humorous, heartwarming, intriguing, and often unexpected. The uplifting ending was perfect. This coming-of-age story was not so tragic that I was bawling, but sad enough that I had a few tears in my eyes. In short, I would go back and see it again.
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