The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an adaption of the novel of the same name which was originally released in 1999. The book was written by Stephen Chbosky and here, author becomes director, as Chbosky takes on the mighty take of directing the film as well as he wrote the source material. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age story which focuses on the fragile Charlie (Logan Lermann), a teenage boy with a history of heartbreak, abuse and mental illness. Involving such difficult topics you shouldn’t expect all happiness and light, but perhaps a story of not only the trials and tribulations of overcoming hard times, but also the wonder and fun that growing up comes with.
Lermann is joined by Emma Watson, who perhaps up until this point was remembered soley for her role in Harry Potter. As beautiful and intense Sam Watson evolves into an adult actress, representing what talent she has in a role which completely juxtaposes Hermione. Completing the trio is Ezra Miller as charismatic Patrick (a character who we all wish was our friend, too), Sam‘s step-brother and best friend. Both help to bring Charlie out of his shell – giving him the opportunity to make friends and experience new and unfamiliar things, from drugs to parties to the difficult task of finding ones self. All three actors channel youth well, bringing in angst and naivety but only when necessary meaning they don’t become the central themes to the whole film.
Teenage rebellion, lust and love, fantastic 198os/90’s music and the representation of friendship all help to make ‘Perks a meaningful watch and is perhaps a film which is wholly relatable for anyone aged 16+ (everyone loves a bit of reminiscing of their youth, right?). Set during the 90’s we follow Charlie, Patrick and Sam as they navigate the difficulties of being unique in High school – the film covers a variety of poignant issues from homosexuality to sexual abuse, both of which are handled delicately meaning neither feel inappropriately represented, or in fact, portrayed in ways which could be deemed tasteless.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower reminds us that its not only OK to be different, but that its something to be celebrated. Chbosky demonstrates inner struggle masterfully but never intrusively meaning we, as an audience, see only what is necessary (there are no overwrought sex scenes or use of strong language meaning this is a film which can be viewed, and appreciated by audiences of all ages). Most importantly, ‘Perks is an accessible film that never takes itself too seriously which Miller can be thanked for – his moments of comedic genius are pure gold. Beyond this, Lermann’s narration as Charlie is not only wonderfully scripted but perfectly timed and never becomes overbearing, he leads us not story-wise but with an insight into his thoughts which at times lends to a prang at the heartstrings.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a thoroughly enjoyable film that focuses on a group which is often unrealistically portrayed – teenagers. Chbosky was in-charge of the script as well as directing and its clear throughout that this is his gem, and after viewing it’ll be yours too. Lastly, the characters’ lustiness for life (which lends to the tagline ‘We are infinite’) reminds us all just what it was like to be that age, embarking on our journey into adulthood – thank you Mr Stephen Chbosky.