An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Based on the novel written by Stephen Chbosky, this is about 15-year-old Charlie (Logan Lerman), an endearing and naive outsider, coping with first love (Emma Watson), the suicide of his best friend, and his own mental illness while struggling to find a group of people with whom he belongs. The introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors, Sam and Patrick, who welcome him to the real world. Written by
I had the pleasure of seeing Perks Of Being A Wallflower at Arclight Cinemas in LA yesterday and it was definitely worth the one hour drive.
The story is very simple yet complicated because of how much goes on. But the way it unfolds is beautiful and sad, sometimes all at once. While it has its funny moments, it also manages to go through dark topics as well such as homosexuality, drugs and death. Stephen Chbosky handles his story very well, never feeling like it's being forced but rather it flowed nicely and carefully.
Directing wise, it was shot very well. The cinematography is gorgeous, especially the scenes where the camera overlooks the skyline of Pittsburgh and during intimate scenes between the characters. You could not get anyone better to direct it other than the author himself because this is his book. This is his vision so he knows exactly how it goes in his head and we can see throughout the film, just how much his vision has truly come alive. The result is both engaging and satisfying.
Same thing with the writing. The dialogue is very honest and beautifully well written. It was very fun to quote along with the movie. Not just the writing but the overall tone of the film reminds me a little bit of John Hughes' work. Adapting a epistolary book into a film is incredibly challenging but Mr. Chbosky did a fine job of translating it into a film.
The musical score is done by Michael Brook who's also responsible for Into The Wild, another favorite of mine, and he did a very good job. In fact, one of the scores made me cry because of how it emotionally resonated with the scene it was fitting in. The soundtrack is awesome. Along with Mr. Chbosky, Alexandra Patsavas, who's also the music supervisor for The OC, did a great job of picking out the songs and treated it as if it were a mix tape.
Logan Lerman, my god, he did a masterful job as Charlie. The character literally jumped out of the book and made its way onto the big screen. Logan's performance blew me away. He did such an amazing job portraying the embodiment of Charlie through his expressions, his emotions, his movements, everything! So perfectly cast. The last 10 minutes of the movie alone is awards worthy because it really shows how talented he really is. I fell in love with his performance. So perfect in every way.
Emma Watson did a great job playing as Sam. She is very beautiful and charming. As for her American accent, I thought she did an okay job. There were times where you can kind of hear her British accent slip in and even though you notice it, it's nothing distracting and it didn't really bother me. But you have to give her credit for trying her best and she truly did. I enjoyed her performance very much.
The second standout of the film is Ezra Miller! He plays Patrick, a gay character who's not afraid of who he is and Ezra portrays him amazingly well. I've seen almost all of his work, and he's becoming a great actor who's very rare in the sense that he's brave and daring in contrast to the roles he has previously played. He steals every line and scene he's in, becoming the comic relief. But even so, Patrick has his own personal problem and this is where Ezra Miller proves once again just how great of an actor he is.
Everyone else in their supporting roles all have their moments. Nina Dobrev, who plays Candance aka Charlie's sister, did a good job. Mae Whitman as Mary Elizabeth was hilarious. Adam Hagenbuch as Bob was great. Erin Wilhelmi as Alice, Johnny Simmons as Brad and Nicholas Braun as Derek were all fine.
The rest of the cast: Kate Walsh and Dylan McDermott who play the parents as well as Joan Cusack who plays Charlie's Doctor were all good, despite having little screen time. Melanie Lynskey did a very good job as Aunt Helen. Paul Rudd as Mr. Anderson is awesome. He's also a standout. Paul Rudd in general is a very likable actor and again, he doesn't have a lot of screen time either but he still manages to play his part memorably.
What makes the cast so special is the chemistry. Everyone got along so well and you can tell that they're very comfortable with each other and you feel convinced that these people are really friends. It was absolutely perfect.
I love this movie. It's amazing. And I'm not just saying this because I'm a die-hard fan of the book. It has a great script, great cast, it's well directed, awesome soundtrack and undeniable strong performances. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower may not be the most faithful adaptation but the spirit of the story is still there and it does great justice to the book. This is one of the best coming of age movies I've ever seen.
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