User ReviewsReview this title
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.
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.
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!
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/)
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.
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.
I think most of the enthusiastic reviewers are young people, who recognize themselves in this story about teenagers who choose to be different from the rest. It's a very romantic story: a melancholic teenager befriends a group of progressive/bohemian/intellectual youngsters, who differentiate themselves from the rest of the school. They introduce him to parties, drugs and music from The Smiths and David Bowie. He falls in love with one of the girls, and another girl falls in love with him. There are secrets to keep, memories to share and experiences to cherish.
This could have been the cinematographic equal to Donna Tartt's novel 'The Secret History'. But it lacks the dark, mysterious, Gothic aspects of the book. There are traumas and secrets in 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower', but they are implied and not clearly explained.
It's clear this movie appeals to young people, who perhaps can recognize a lot about their own life in the film. But to be a good movie in its own right, it should also be attractive for viewers in other age groups. I think in that respect this movie fails.
I was very fortunate to have finally seen Perks of Being a Wallflower (POBAW) at an advance screening courtesy of a fellow film fanatic and blogger. I had to travel for the most part of a day through a couple of States to get to the screening but it was worth every penny of the toll fees charged.
Disclosure: I read POBAW nearly 10 years ago when I was just about to start college and it remains one of my favorite books alongside works by Thomas Pynchon, Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, John Irving, Gore Vidal - a very eclectic bunch.
I had also been tracking any plans to make a film version of the novel since 2008 when Chbosky was quoted in an online interview that he was working on a script based on his novel. I thought that's a very hopeful, positive and at the same time brave sign. Around the time I read the novel, I was also totally engrossed in a new drama series on the WB called "Jack and Bobby" which starred a then 12-13 year old actor named Logan Lerman whom I had seen previously in the cult favorite "The Butterfly Effect" as a young Ashton Kutcher and the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "A Painted House". I was struck by the maturity of Lerman's weekly output in Jack and Bobby and thought at the time that he reminded me so much of Charlie in POBAW.
Fast forward to 2010 when Variety broke the news that Lerman, Chbosky and Emma Watson were all involved in the POBAW film with John Malkovich's Mr. Mudd Productions - I knew then that it was going to be special.
And it is. It is a faithful adaptation of the novel to the screen but not necessarily a set piece-for-set piece accurate one. More than the plot elements and details, it is the story arc and the emotions in the written work that have made a successful transition to the screen. For that I must credit Chbosky for knowing what to cut and what to retain in the film version. Even the use of songs other than those in Charlie's mixtape works because the director and the entire team know the essence of the book and how and why it has affected so many readers and they respected it.
Spoilers: There is no abortion scene, no reading of Dr. Earl Reum's moving poem in the film or some of the scenes with Charlie's extended family over the holidays and yet, I have to agree wholeheartedly with Chbosky's decision on this. Fans of the book should not get into a twist because some of these will not be seen because Charlie's story and more importantly, his unique voice is there in all it's quirky, lovable and emotional beauty.
Don't let the obviously very commercial trailer fool you, the film retains the book's darker moments and the demons which torment the protagonist.
As for the acting, I cannot say enough about how the cast embodied and fully embraced the characters they were playing. First off, those who know Logan Lerman only from his Percy Jackon-franchise should take another look at this promising young actor. I have seen Lerman in other performances in 3:10 to Yuma and My One and Only and always found him to be a mature and sensitive actor. And while his performances in those films are noteworthy, Perks allows him to show his full range and versatility. He is Charlie no doubt about it and imbues the role with sophistication and emotion. I realize the Academy doesn't take notice of younger actors unlike the actress categories but Lerman's performance is truly awards-worthy.
Ezra Miller's portrayal of Patrick may surprise some fans of the book as his characterization may be slightly more flamboyant than the Nothing of the book but he delivers a funny, outrageous but ultimately warm performance.
Now Emma Watson really needs to do more work on her American accent as her natural one flits in and out but it doesn't totally distract from a winsome and winning performance as Sam. Perhaps not in the same league as Lerman and Miller but certainly a departure and breakthrough from just being known as Hermione. The actress knows how to choose material. Also the chemistry between her and Lerman is outstanding.
Mae Whitman, Paul Rudd, Joan Cusack, Kate Walsh, Dylan McDermott and the always great Melanie Lynskey also make wonderful contributions. I wish though that we had seen more of the young actor Chbosky cast as Michael (cut out of the film) and Julia Garner of Electrick Children.
Just a last note, Chbosky makes full use of his Pittsburgh setting to situate the characters in the film. The Christmas/holiday scenes are beautiful visually and so is the RHPS.
If there is one thing I hope fans of POBAW will do is to tell people they know to see the film. This is not your typical teen fare and certainly miles ahead of the Twilight series and the Hunger Games. As a coming-of-age film, I would place this in the same league as "Dead Poets' Society" and the classic "Harold and Maude". More substantial than John Hughes' work. This is real. I would love it if families could see this film together. It deserves nothing less. I hope that there is enough critical mass at TIFF and beyond to elevate this film for the accolades it deserves.
We're hanging out with a smart, but introvert guy who has problems with something that was done to him, rather than something he has done. Nothing is his fault, even tho he feels that way. The protagonist is a thoroughly nice person, but haunted by a gruesome past that ultimately will strike him in what is the climax of the film.
The film is, however, not about his head. It's about the cool, alternative, smart, pretty and older group of people he starts hanging out with. (And these are not the popular kids? Wow, why?)
Even tho the members of this group are all very bright in theory, this does not reflect on their choices within the film's plot.
Sam is having a relationship with an all-through asshole and it's very obvious that he has a lower level of intelligence as well. Sam then goes on about how she loves Charlie and kisses him. But wait, she doesn't leave the asshole. Why the F not?
Charlie is then persuaded into a relationship with Mary Elizabeth, supposedly a Harvard candidate, who is also ignorant to seeing Charlies real desires to want Sam. (Does this group of friends even talk to each other?) They become mad at Charlie when he reaches into these desires during a dare. The group becomes mad at him because he has now hurt both Mary Elizabeth and Sam for desperately showing this. He's suddenly the asshole.
Charlie now feels that his is his fault. He becomes, for a very brief period, cast out of this group until he hits (this bit is unclear even in the film) a person and is suddenly a hero again.
This leaves me with the impression that the film's 45 minutes to 1 hr 15 minutes are just time extending plot material. It does not in any way, provoke the climax of the film or lead up to it. Conflicts in this time area of the film are quickly started and solved. It's overstated, annoying and boring. I pounded my head a lot to my desk during these minutes.
I like the ending, because it is much more intriguing than the overstated personal dramas of this overly cool but not popular group of people we follow. If the film had been more about Charlie's head, displaying more of his inner conflict surrounding his past and his feelings towards his 1000 days left of college, I would think this film is great. But a lot of the plot is only to please the youthful audience and to feed them with a film that appears alternative but is really just a remix of the old. (Much like Easy-A and it's ''self-reflective'' script discourse). But I mean, if you're fourteen you'd not only love this film, but maybe also find it intriguing to display yourself through the identity of the characters.
Emma Watson is hot, she has 3 of my 4 stars.
I kind of hated Perks of Being a Wallflower. Why? It was like an angst overdose in a depressing fantasy world. Now I know there exists bullying in high school, but generally high school is not like it is portrayed here. Everyone in high school is not mean to you from the first to the last day and even if jocks can be insensitive, depicting them as nothing but evil bullies is a tired, stale plot mechanism.
The main character Charlie is so introverted that we never quite care about him. I'm remembering the introverted character from Almost Famous and how he ended up being really funny and lovable. I really didn't feel anything for Charlie. And both his parents are just robots so we're never given an explanation of why he is the way he is other than his aunt molested him and then died in a car accident. Really? That's what totally screwed up an otherwise normal, intelligent, halfway good looking kid?
Patrick is probably the best character but, really, he's a flaming queer and knows every word of the Rocky Horror Picture Show by heart but he has never heard of David Bowie's song Heroes? Really? And he isn't into theater? He just goes to parties and acts flamboyant while he is secretly depressed? Yet he and the rest of the "wallflowers" probably have more friends than any of the so-called "cool" kids do, so what are they so depressed about?
The teacher Mr. Anderson is a minor, minor character yet supposedly he has a great impact on Charlie's life. Why? Because he gives him books? There seemed to be some homo-erotic thing going on there that's never touched upon. Perhaps a moment a bit more awkward than the hug Charlie gives him--that might have shed some light on their mysterious relationship.
Charlie's high school crush Sam is an okay character but she also just sort of goes along with the absence of plot. She tells Charlie that she loves him but then she acts totally surprised when Charlie kisses her during the game of truth or dare. Really? And then later she's in love with him again or something. Whatever.
And of course there's Brad (no, can't be a reference to Rocky Horror, can it) the football star who is having a secret love affair with Patrick, a love affair that's so obvious that the only ones who can't see it are all Brad's knuckle-headed jock friends who don't even question him even when Patrick practically announces it in the cafeteria.
And where are the rest of the freshman, and the sophomores, and the juniors. This schools seems to have one freshman, Charlie, and everyone else is a senior. It makes NO sense.
I kept looking at the time realizing I still had forty five minutes, a half hour, twenty minutes to go, wanting to puke from eating so much angst, until I finally was shouting out loud "It's David Bowie's song Heroes, good God, it's not exactly obscure!!!!"
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" tells a story of a shy guy who blossoms socially as he develops friendships with two step-siblings. It involves the typical American high school life; with experimentation in sex and drugs, experiences with dating, fights and bullying. I can see how a lot of people can identify with the characters and events in the film, and hence "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" gets such a high rating. However, I think it is overrated. I thought it was a plain coming of age drama. It doesn't push that many boundaries, and there is nothing new. The story is not particularly captivating, and in fact the subtle subplots (involving flashbacks) can be confusing. My friends and I did not agree with the positive critics and the high ratings.
This movie is filled with such whiny, pretentious, self-righteous, self-pity wallowing, predictable, teenage melodrama, that is so falsely attributed to be 'deep' and 'on point' that it's just plain hard to take seriously in any stretch of the word. It's also an enigma; it's a film that many teenagers pretend to identify with, even though its view of typical teenage American life is so hollow, vacuous and falsified...not to mention, very exploitative of real insecurities that teenagers feel, which are only used as superficial character 'defining' traits, never to be elaborated on, to gain audience sympathy. It also only touches on teenagers that live in wealthy suburban areas, making for a very narrow field of their target demographic to represent. It comes across as so insincere and manipulative that it's actually rather infuriating and insufferable.
I am struggling of what to describe first in this review, but I think that I will give the makers of this movie a little credit. "Perks" was always going to be a difficult story to televise and the attempt is not a total cop-out. The movie stays true to the book in many respects and it's obvious that there was some thought put into capturing the feel of the written tale. That it didn't succeed is a confluence of several factors.
The main problem is down to the casting and portrayal of the main characters. I have no issue with the protagonist, Charlie, but the roles of Patrick (Ezra Miller) and especially Sam (Emma Watson) have been rather absurdly twisted, albeit each in a different way.
Patrick is overtly and flamboyantly homosexual, which becomes a real distraction. In the book, he was just a cool and funny guy for whom sexual orientation was a nuisance with which he struggled, but he didn't seem to consider it a core of his persona. The movie falls way short of that level of subtlety. Here Patrick is oozing gayness - that's where he begins and that's where he ends.
The character of Sam is even worse. I am not sure what is the big deal about Emma Watson. She has very little in terms of acting chops and it's a shame that she keeps getting roles, on the strength of "Potter" fame, that she is totally ill-suited for. She lacks any kind of charm and on top of that she looks androgynous. Sam is supposed to be a slutty girl gone good who is still feminine and unwittingly seductive. Emma looks and acts like a preteen boy making it hard to understand Charlie's infatuation with her.
The last problem that I want to touch upon is the lack of flow in the narrative. There is just no feeling of cohesiveness that characterizes good movies. It's a succession of short vignettes, loosely related, and strung together. The book also makes frequent jumps in time, but they are easier to digest due to transitional material. It makes sense that there is a time lapse when Charlie starts writing his letter, but somehow that doesn't translate well to the screen.
Overall, I give this movie a 4/10 score as I consider it a slightly sub-par effort. It wasn't for a lack of trying, but I wish that the creators resisted the urge to capitalize on Emma Watson's supposed star power and instead found an actress well suited for the role.
The film is a truly moving one and is not an average popcorn flick. Very powerful emotionally, at least for someone like me, who has experienced a similar life to that of Charlie, it can definitely be hard to re-watch this film, despite its complete brilliance.
With good performances throughout, from Logan Lerman to Emma Watson, this film adds further credibility. If I were to pick a fault with this film, I'd really have a tough time sitting through thinking but perhaps, if a few characters, mainly Mary and Sam were elaborated a bit more, there may have been a bit more of an emotional connection but for Sam, it doesn't tend to matter much as her character is a likable one and the screen time she has is relatively long.
In a year that saw the releases of films like Django Unchained, The Hobbit, Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers and Looper, I myself would personally rank it above all those great films of the year except for my personal favourite Django Unchained.
Fantastic direction, excellent writing and an excellent knowledge of book to movie adaptations from the book's very author, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a brilliantly acted story and is emotionally powerful yet displays elements of other films. A fantastic film, a near masterpiece of the decade. One of the most underrated films of this new decade.
It hurt because i found relations to it, perhaps that's why i cried. that moment when Sam (Emma Watson) touches Charlie's lap (Logan Lerman) with that look in his eyes i knew something was wrong & i cried.
Some of the songs are a good pick, some are just Duh!
Asleep by The Smiths (Oh Lovely track)
Love always JC
I just got around to watching this movie. I was really looking forward to it - I had never heard of the book, but I really liked Emma Watson in the Harry Potter series and I generally like watching coming-of-age movies. And after the first 30 minutes, my pleasant anticipation seemed entirely justified. I really loved the first half an hour, it had so many great scenes in it: The innocent Charlie eating a hash brownie and being high for the first time, blabbering entertaining absurdities and demanding a milkshake, Emma Watson experiencing freedom while listening to David Bowie and of course my favorite, the awesome high school dance where Sam and Patrick do the 'living room dance'. So, after about 1/3 of its runtime, the movie looked really promising to me.
Sadly, it went all downhill from there for me. One reviewer here stated that he liked about this movie how it replaced 'tired clichés' and while I of course respect anyone's opinion, I actually felt a lot of clichés were merely repeated here. The shy, introverted guy with the good heart, who likes poems and reading, falls in love with the good-looking, upbeat girl whose only negative character trait seems to be constantly falling for douches. Her stepbrother, Patrick, is gay and dating one of the popular football playing kids, Brad, who is secretly gay, but obviously doesn't want to tell anybody and instead hides his relationship with Patrick. Eventually, Brad's father catches the two making out and punishes his son violently.
Meanwhile, Charlie and Sam clearly have romantic feelings for each other, but Sam has a boyfriend and because of this, Charlie doesn't dare to ask her out. He gets in a distinctively unhappy relationship with one of their friends instead, Mary Elizabeth, but eventually has to confess he doesn't love her and only wants Sam. In the end, it is revealed that Sam's boyfriend has cheated on her the whole time, because, well, he's a douche, and before Sam leaves for university, she and Charlie finally get their big romantic moment they've been craving all along, confessing their love for each other and making out enthusiastically.
Doesn't that sound awfully familiar? To me, it does. It's the typical romance 'chick-flick' structure, just mixed with a coming-of-age tale here. I awarded six stars to this movie because, even though it's clichéd, there's no denying it's well done - the acting is decent, the dialog is mostly good and the soundtrack is awesome. The little twist at the end regarding Charlie's aunt comes unexpected and makes kind of sense, but wasn't absolutely necessary to the story in my opinion. All in all, a decent movie with a lot of heart that really cares for its characters, but definitely no revelation and a little overrated here on IMDb, me thinks.