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Went to an advance screening expecting your usual "shy kid in high school learns to stick up for himself" sort of feel-good drama. This movie is so much more than that - I was truly blown away by the mature themes and moving characters. Mental illness, sexual abuse, drugs and alcohol... I think the writer/screenwriter/director said it best in the Q+A after when he said it was a film that looked at the emotional aspects of that point in life without being sentimental. I really cared about these three teens - Charlie, Sam, and Patrick - and their story never felt cheesy. Just real, and moving, and touching. Go see this movie!
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.
Stephen Chbosky has taken his exceptional novel and made it an
extraordinary film. As the opening credit rolled I was impressed with
the quality of the cast including Emma Watson, Paul Rudd, Kate Walsh,
and Dylan McDermott. And to top it off, Joan Cusak is there as well.
This is a story of coming of age and coming to terms of a boy entering high school and adulthood. Freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman) almost by accident becomes friends with Patrick (Ezra Miller) and his stepsister Sam (Emma Watson). Soon he is hanging out learning about the ins and outs of being a teen. But there is something that is left unsaid, is it about his last best friend or his aunt.
Chbosky must have been blessed by John Hughes. Not only capturing this timeless story with every word and sight, the film's soundtrack blows me away. Not many can take a book of such depth and keep the heart and soul of it alive, but it happened here. Go to the theatre and see it. Check out the book and read it. But most of all, Stay Infinite!
Greetings again from the darkness. Brace for gushing. Last evening I
attended a screening that included a fascinating Q&A with
writer/director Stephen Chbosky. It reminded me of how personal and
intimate and observant and incisive a well-made film can be. A well
written script is so refreshing, and an exceptional script can be truly
breath-taking. Mr. Chbosky takes the unusual step of directing his own
screenplay based on his own novel (a 1999 bestseller), and he left me
stunned and enthralled.
The popularity of the novel would typically make the film version a disappointment for its fans. Not so this time. Mr. Chbosky remains true to the spirit despite the need to edit for the sake of continuity and brevity. The key characters spring to life thanks to the efforts of four strong performances from young actors: Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson, The Three Muskateers) plays Charlie, Emma Watson (Harry Potter films) is Sam, Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin, City Island) is Patrick, and Mae Whitman (Arrested Development) is Mary Elizabeth.
If you have read the book, you know the story ... you know the characters ... you know the themes. If you haven't read the book, I will spoil nothing. The brilliance is recognized only as you get to know these characters and slowly uncover their stories. What we discover is that, regardless of our age, we recognize these characters from our high school days. We know the introverted, observant Charlie who so desperately needs a support system. We surely recognize the attention-starved, lacking in self-esteem Sam who is the epitome of "We accept the love we think we deserve". And we all knew a Patrick ... the flamboyant one who sheaths his pain with an over-the-top act of public confidence. What Chbosky does is shine the spotlight on these characters to ensure that we really SEE them this time.
The themes reminded me a bit of a darker John Hughes film (that's a compliment). There were also pieces of two other really good films: Stand By Me and Almost Famous. The formative years of a writer determine the depths to which his or her work will reach later in life. Admittedly, the film is substantially autobiographical, so when Mr. Chbosky says it's a personal story, we begin to understand the foundation of his remarkable writing style.
"Welcome to the island of misfit toys." When this line is spoken, we realize that most every high school kid has thought the same thing at some point. These are painful and difficult times and as Mr. Chbosky stated, we should encourage kids to fight through this stage and get on to the next ... then able to find their true self. Clearly, the film made a strong impact on me. My favorite reaction to a movie is profound thought, and this one caused this in waves. The decision to release as PG-13 was wise. There is no excess of profanity or nudity to divert attention from what really matters ... the characters. I can think of no finer compliment to a writer and filmmaker than to cite them as the cause of my internal discussions related to their film. My hope is that you have the same reaction. (http://moviereviewsfromthedark.wordpress.com/)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is another story about a simple guy
living in a cruel life of high school. The difference is he's not ought
to save the day, wants to lose his virginity, seeking to be popular, or
revenge on his bullies. The story is about a shy kid who wants to get
along with people and can't wait to leave high school. Behind it is the
genuine pain and emotion of the characters which makes it more than
just another story about teenagers. Stephen Chbosky tells his own story
on screen pretty well and the performances are quite excellent. The
Perks of Being a Wallflower is often heartbreaking, charming, and
Charlie is palpably just another teenage protagonist, but he is not one of those who tries to prove everyone who mistreated him wrong. His goal is to get away from being anti-social and be like anyone else in high school. We may have heard a story like this before, but what makes this one extraordinary is when it mostly depicts the darkest aspects of their lives. Expressing the most heartbreaking truths about these teenagers. Knowing their problems easily makes it reasonable for us to care about them. The romance is rather credibly lovely than a mainstream claptrap. In the joyous moments, it's pretty delightful and plays a quite nostalgic soundtrack.
The film gives the actors some nuance. This is probably a good thing for Logan Lerman. He usually plays the simple charming guy in movies. Since he's good at those, he adds some credibility to Charlie. Emma Watson is likable enough as Sam. The best among the three is Ezra Miller. One might hams it up for Patrick, but Miller gave the character a genuinely wonderful personality.
The director and author, Stephen Chbosky, didn't try anything else than to bring his book to life. He tells it straightforward on screen with plenty of strong, effective emotions. The cinematography is bright and beautiful enough. The tunnel scene has the best shots. While the soundtrack is too conspicuous, the music score is noticeably melancholic.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is best if you can actually relate to the lead character or have experienced the struggles of being an adolescent. When it's not depressing, the film goes to those blissful moments that make us remember the good times in high school. Overall, it's a great film. It's a film adaptation that replaces the cliché mainstream swagger with some painful realities and simply let the audience understand the whole point of it. In the end, it's quite a remarkable film.
I absolutely loved this film - specifically the acting, music and even at times the cinematography. Steven Chbosky captured the spirit of the book and the characters magnificently - Ezra and Logan give exceptional performances that deserve major credit. Emma gives a strong performance as Sam - you can tell that she really understands the character, however she does struggle a bit with the American accent. Not to worry - she's in Bling Ring next year and will have improved by then, she does a great job of finding her ground and portraying a troubled yet lovable and wonderful teen, at times her actions speak much louder than her words. Logan is phenomenal at every aspect of Charlie - awkward, unsure, emotional, honest - he gives an amazing performance. Ezra is hilarious but not gimmicky, and can flip to a somber tone at a moment's notice and have everyone spellbound. Also great performances from Mae Whitman, Nina Dobrev and Johnny Simmons. The young cast is truly the heart of the film and are all really great. There is a lot of humour, emotion, honesty, everything it needed, and also an excellent soundtrack to back it up.
Saw this movie at TIFF and after watching the trailer was thinking I
was going to enjoy this movie. Those expectations now are so very low,
this movie is amazing. It speaks on many different levels of being a
teenager, dealing with death, loneliness, and how awkward it can be
trying to fit in. I haven't seen a move like this in a very long time
and was very refreshing. The highlight of the film for me at least from
a acting stand point is Ezra Miller really funny, but very heartfelt at
the same time. Don't get me wrong the whole case is amazing (Emma
Watson was perfect for this after HP) but Ezra really stands out.
Stephen Chbosky really cared about this book, and it really shows in
this film. Him Directing and writing his own book was a amazing idea.
It's going to get many comparisons to a John Hughes film, and rightfully so this movie is heart felt and just amazing.
I will definitely being seeing this film again.
I saw the preview of this film and thought it was intriguing. I went to a screening last week and was totally BLOWN AWAY......this film has everything. I grew up in this era were the internet highway was just about to expload and I felt this film had EVERYTHING -great beginning = grabbed your attention, then acceptance, then the complex happened and you just didn't know where this film was going to go and then the film closure or was it? This has to be the BEST DRAMA/LOVE STORY ....coming of age I have seen. I would recommend this film to ANYONE....LOVED IT !!!!!! PLEASE go see this film. I feel due to lack of advertisement that it will be overlooked with other big blockbuster films but I totally related to this film and LOVED IT !!! I haven't even heard about this film until I was invited to a screening...saw the trailer and really wanted to see it but the trailer does not do it justice. If you are looking for something to do on a weekend ...get out of the heat..please see this film
I just saw the movie at the Pgh premiere and it was amazing. I was
hoping I wouldn't be disappointed because I loved the book so much. The
movie is very true to the book. A few things have been omitted or
changed but it doesn't change the mood of the story. I think the
casting choices were spot on. Emma Watson has a scene in which she
tears up and cries and it was amazing. I also appreciate how Chbosky
made the parents thoughtful people, unlike most teen comedies. I am
definitely going to see this movie again because there was so much to
take in. Very well done.
It's also lovely to see my hometown as the backdrop. Pgh is a beautiful city and coming out of the Fort Pitt tunnels into the city is an experience that isn't quite captured well enough in the film. It's still a powerful scene and I teared up watching it.
The Perks as it were, was a bit of a marvel when discussing what teenagers have to contend with. Anyone that decides to see this film expecting a run of the mill high school drama or teenage angst tale will be pleasantly surprised at the depth with which this story delves. This adaptation of Stephen Chbosky's novel seemed to take the difficulties facing one young man embarking on his high school journey through one extreme situation after another. I could visualize a totally different version of this tale of misfit toys being played out where all is right with the world and Charlie (Logan Lerman) is the most popular freshman in school for the simple fact that all his friends are seniors. The immediate infatuation that Charlie had with Sam (Emma Watson) was no surprise, what did surprise me was the challenges that she and her step brother Patrick/Nothing (Ezra Miller) had to endure. Even I started to get annoyed as the school year progressed and the running 'Nothing' joke persisted. It's always surprising when a story focuses on well to do young people whose lives would be expected to mimic a fairytale. This story gives insight into the fact that some young people have the same if not even more struggles than others and having money can't really fix that. I found it interesting that there was no clear indication in the story as to the school year, even at graduation there was none of the typical 'Class of '92' or whatever to show how proud of their time graduates are. It may be that Mr. Chbosky wanted to steer clear of associating the story with a specific year, but it was obviously the early 90's when the primary mode of sharing and exchanging music was via cassette. I recall so very clearly the good old days when the 'mix tape' ruled. I have to say that I liked Emma Watson as an American teenager, she can cross the pond and put it down any time. Yes there were a few moments in her dialog that she sounded like Hermione, but this role did a great deal to paint her in a different and mature light. I am not drawn to tales of the human condition unless there is a deep truth to be gleaned from the story, so if I had to say the moral of the story is It would be 'you gotta have friends'. This story worked because of what the three key characters gained from getting to know each other. I give it a green light.
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