The perks of seeing “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”


Main character Charlie (Logan Lerman) is accompanied by new friends Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson). After befriending the two, Charlie is quickly welcomed into the social scene of these unique high school seniors.

Penina Remler, Assistant A&E Editor

The enormous critical and commercial success of his 1999 young adult novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower inspired author Stephen Chbosky to bring the story to the silver screen.

Fans of the novel considered a common question: Could this film live up to its source material? Ultimately, the pairing of a talented cast with a director so intimately familiar with the novel resulted in great success.

The film follows Charlie (Logan Lerman), a freshman in high school who has a rather disturbing past that impedes his ability to be social and make any friends besides his English teacher Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd).

Within his second week of the school year, Charlie befriends one of the more flamboyant schoolmates, a gay senior named Patrick (Ezra Miller). Charlie meets Patrick’s sister Sam (Emma Watson), the manic pixie dreamgirl for whom he falls.

It is with their help that Charlie is introduced to a new group of friends (referred to by Sam as the “island of misfit toys”), indie music, hipsters, drugs, and teen sex.

Chbosky wrote and directed the film himself to emphasize friendship’s ability to help people get through tough times.

The heart of the movie is its well-written dialogue. The film is told from Charlie’s point of view, with voice-over narration, so it is easier to feel sympathetic for his character, but Ezra Miller as Patrick is the true standout performance.

If you have seen Miller in other films, you will understand versatile he is and how impressive it is to see him completely immerse himself as Patrick. Emma Watson’s character was the only one to feel dull, but that might have been a problem with the script.

One of the main problems with the film is unnecessary darkness. The backstories of some of the characters just seem out of place and make the movie ridiculous. The scenes in the film that worked best were the ones that dealt with themes that were naturally more mature, like Patrick’s relationship with a closeted football player. With a range in character roles, several different personality types were addressed.

Chbosky’s vision comes across as mildly pretentious at first, mainly because of its constant references to indie bands and its admiration for the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Beneath the pretense, there is heart in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. 
The characters’ camaraderie communicates the importance of the friendships established at younger age, which resulted in a genuinely sweet movie.