The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) Poster

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Not Just a High School Movie
zahnarabai28 August 2012
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!
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One of the best of 2012 so far.
sleepyandawake21 September 2012
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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Being Infinite
billygoat10711 October 2012
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 wonderful.

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.
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Exceptionally Infinite
darwegener27 June 2012
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!
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We are infinite
ferguson-630 August 2012
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. (
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Young Cast Give Amazing Performances, Great Soundtrack, Emotionally Moving
tiarockz9 September 2012
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.
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Saw this at TIFF 2012
stanhdeeks10 September 2012
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.
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Very Well Done
mc_warwick25 September 2012
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.
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Chix Chat on Film Review: Not your typical teenage angst tale.
EmmaDinkins31 August 2012
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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LOVED IT !!!!!! Please go see it !!!
cruizinalong16 September 2012
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
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The Perks of a Great Cast, Writing and Direction
comicbookfilmfan28 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler Alert: There will be some spoilers in this review.

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.
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Doesn't stand out
rubenm7 January 2013
Although most reviewers on IMDb seem to be ecstatic about 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower', I don't think this film really stands out. To be honest, it didn't really move or impress me in any way. In my opinion it's a decent film, with some flaws, that could have been far better if it wasn't so mainstream.

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.
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Extremely touching film infinitely awesome!
illbebackreviews19 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The biggest issue with this movie, I would have to admittedly say, is the fact that is such an underrated film. Not to say anything against Best Picture nominee, Silver Linings Playbooks, but I would myself place an Oscar nomination for The Perks of Being a Wallflower over SLP for a Best Picture nomination. That being said, let the review be underway A young and troubled freshman by the name of Charlie (Logan Lerman) attempts to make his way through high school and gain friends as he falls in love with Sam (Emma Watson) The story is definitely based off Steven Chbosky's novel which he writes and directs in this case. Normally, having the author of a book direct a film can often come out horrible as a reader's interpretation is completely different from a film director's. Also, a book must be structured and paced differently to that of a film and in most cases, an author directing a film would more so attempt to direct it like a film. It's not the case here, thankfully! The direction in this film is definitely marvellous and the way the characters were presented is truly fantastic. Having never read the book myself, I was almost immediately fascinated by the film and a while into the film, I knew I would love it. Despite only reaching a 100 minute run time, I would personally have loved the film to be another half hour longer.

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.
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zetes25 December 2012
Mostly a trite and clichéd high school picture. Logan Lerman is miscast as a moody high school freshman (who looks like he' at least 16) who befriends a group of seniors (Ezra Miller, Emma Watson and Mae Whitman chief amongst them) who help him come out of his shell. That's not too unbelievable, but it becomes increasingly silly when Whitman becomes romantically involved with him, and Stone, on whom Lerman is crushing, would probably be game if she weren't already involved. This plays out like a fantasy, not reality. If you've ever been in a high school as an adult the maturity difference between freshmen and seniors - Hell, freshmen and sophomores - is hugely pronounced. Even among alterna-kids, no 18 year old girl is going to even think about dating a 14/15 year old. I couldn't quite get over that, but that's hardly the only flaw. Ezra Miller is definitely the stand-out. His homosexual character is a bit cliché, but I was happy that they actually weren't afraid to give him a sex life (though not graphic, I'm surprised it didn't land an R-rating because of it).
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We accept the love we deserve
dannybeans17 March 2013
This is my first review and its brief. I do not understand the need for lengthy reviews. After watching this four times in six days i felt compelled to give my own ten pence worth. I've never seen a film like this where i have loved all the characters. The cast are brilliant and story moves along at a nice pace. The soundtrack is amazing. I love movies and its very rare that one comes along like this that works on so many levels. I am not usually one for this sort of genre and came close to taking this back before actually watching it. I am so glad i did not. Its going to be a very long time before something tops this. This is a feel good movie with some disturbing undertones. If you love movies and want something that moves you emotionally then this is for you.
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magnuslhad15 April 2015
As someone over 21, I feel like an interloper reviewing this film. It didn't reflect my teenage experience back to me, but I was well past that phase in the early nineties. And yet, the American high school, such a tired, over-familiar arena for American cinema, seems not to have moved on at all. Jocks, Jewish-American princesses, closet gays and geeks all populate this film in fairly conventional representations. The lead character is in a state of fragile mental health, but no Holden Caulfield. He finds friends, has a loving family, and a teacher who looks out for him. The main issue he has is historical abuse, but the rendering of this is so 'lite' as to be unrealistic and totally lacking in emotional impact. I can buy that they did not know a Bowie classic in this part of the world in the early nineties, but I can't accept that they would ostracise a clearly fragile friend after one drunken party faux pas. The film does not explore the fallout of childhood abuse in meaningful terms, and it fails to capture the pain and euphoria of being a teenager. All in all, a bit flat and disappointing.
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Gordon-1119 January 2013
This film is about a shy high school misfit who becomes a cool guy after two seniors taking him under their wings.

"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.
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Good but a bit scary to this old fashioned father.
MartinHafer23 January 2014
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is a good movie. However, as a father of two girls in college, watching this film is a bit tough for me, as I WANT to assume that real young people don't do drugs, stand up in fast-moving cars, have sex, or, well...have sex. But I also know this naive and although I would hate for younger teens to see this movie (as it might give them a sense that they should grow up too fast), it IS a good film. Far from perfect,...but a good film.

The film is about a very insecure and withdrawn young man entering high school. He doesn't fit in and knows it. However, surprisingly, he does soon get taken into a small group of friends--friends who are seniors and mostly have a lot of hangups too. It takes place over this single year of high school and ends when the older friends go off to college.

The film has a very smart script. Sometime, perhaps a bit too smart because too often the kids come off as a bit hipster-ish and too glib. But it is very enjoyable throughout and quite poignant--and deals with some VERY tough and complex topics--some of which are rarely ever addressed. While I don't think the movie is as wonderful as most (since it's in the IMDb Top 250 List), it is quite good and excellent for an audience 16 and up...well, perhaps 17 and up.
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Angst Overdose
chicagopoetry10 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I usually don't bother reviewing anything at IMDb that's already been reviewed a hundred times, but since the vast majority of reviews here are glowing, I thought I'd offer my two cents.

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!!!!"
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So I don't know about all these good reviews.
zatch17102 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This may be somewhat disjointed, but there are significant problems with this film.

First off, I love how Emma Watson looks, but she is not organic. Her line delivery is terrible. How are we supposed to buy a 17 year old saying "Welcome to the island of misfit toys"--really? She loses her accent only somewhat, and moves her head before every single line. And shows a complete lack of inhibition at all times, whereas Patrick and Charlie still have some moments of varied emotion. And if she's the second most important character, where is the depth of storyline and evidence of "I'm a messed up kid". She mentions that she had older gentleman boyfriends at 11 and got drunk in freshman year and was promiscuous. Then all of that totally disappears and she acts like a normal person throughout the film. Her other emotional opportunity is "he said I was right to have broken up with him". There is no anger or revenge shown, just a matter of fact thing statement. Emma Watson still has a lot of development to do.

Patrick was great, range of emotions was believable, his acting was brilliant, and his reactions were on cue. No qualms with him.

Problems: Why does everyone think Charlie is a great writer if he never really a) tells them, b) shows them, or c) demonstrates. He hands some essays to his English teacher and then they have this huge connection due to Charlie liking him and his teacher giving him books and only saying "We accept the love we think we deserve". So that makes him the best teacher ever and it also makes Charlie a great writer-though he never attempts a novel. The father and mother have about three lines, and in the book the Dad was a lot more stand-offish. You can't prove a father stand-offish if he's just not in a lot of shots. The mother has less lines than the repeated lines of Aunt Helen.

Charlie. Great acting, but there's a huge problem with the way the film is developed and how his role comes about. They only mention "It is getting bad" and then keep it vague. Who the hell says things like "it's getting bad" and then are you seeing things again. There is barely any mention of his stay in a hospital during middle school, and tell me what teenager with light suicidality stays in a hospital for a year? Or even 3 months after his "breakdown". Even if it's supposed to be in the '80s that seems off.

Mary Elizabeth is apparently a punk rock Buddhist, and then all of the sudden she calls at all hours of the day when they go out--does not seem consistent with her character.

Charlie--you're saying that a guy who doesn't work out has the ability to black out and beat up three football players, and that the football players are suddenly stunned and decide to just look stunned rather than fighting back? Really?

Then someone thinks it's a good idea for Charlie to have a pot brownie without telling him and he doesn't freak out? And of course they toast him. And there is no detail about his "friend" he writes to or his friendship with his best friend who just commit suicide. But about the pot brownie. He is completely fine, then decides voluntarily in the same month or two to try LSD, having never actually smoked. Who does that? Not to mention the absolute lack of supervision throughout the entire film. These kids are allowed to do whatever they want and have house parties seemingly every week with alcohol and drugs, and only once are almost caught (sadie Hawkins). Again, what teenager decides to do LSD after ingesting a pot brownie once, unknowingly?

Then there's the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The QB is fine to be in the crowd of people, but cannot be in the show itself because someone would see him. What? And how the hell do all these 17 and 18 year olds all have the leads to this production. You're telling me that anyone who had been at this theater for this production had decided to give up the reins to acting in RHPS to this band of teenagers who apparently know everything about it? And that Charlie has no memories of his Aunt when he's touching breasts of Sam in the show and Mary Elizabeth, but then suddenly has a revelation when Sam's hand slides to his nether regions?

And Sam is totally okay with them going to have sex as soon as Charlie says I wanted to ask her out, knowing Charlie? What happens at that point?

This film is absolutely illogical and does terrible justice to the book. Emma Watson is gorgeous but unconvincing, Logan could be good in the future, and Ezra has a brilliant career in front of him. But for god's sake, this is not a good movie.
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Superfluous film. Adds nothing new to many other films and TV series about the same social environment
JvH4823 October 2012
I saw this film at the Ghent filmfestival 2012. I must confess upfront that I find this film superfluous, given the overload of TV series and films that also center around high schools and their population. One might falsely think that striving to be popular and "cool" is the main occupation of an average adolescent. This film adds nothing new or original to this overload, and does not even attempt to show that there is more to the subject. Further, this film concentrates too much on a single person, the alleged "wallflower", and leaves the remaining persons very much as entourage.

What hinders me in the scenario is that our main character can only be considered a wallflower for a relatively small time frame. He gets some friends in an early stage of the story, albeit all these are older than he is. What helped in acquiring these friendships is that he could show several talents in the context of prose and poetry, and that he also had some talents as a stand-up comedian (probably only when under influence, but still).

I scored a 1 (lowest) for the audience award when leaving the theater. I am at a loss why this film ended on place 8 for this award, with an average score of 4.52 (out of 5). I can only assume that other people find interesting material in these stories, which theory seems confirmed by the scores on IMDb. Maybe I'm just too old (64) for this.
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And those perks would be...???
NJMoon17 October 2012
I'm not sure. I wanted to like this film, but I felt like I'd seen it all before elsewhere and better. The narrative is a little too crowded for it's own good - and no one gets full attention, though all deserve it. Unlike some, I think the script might have benefited from being set in a specific time and place (it is, 1990's Pittsburgh - but it is never stated). Like so much of this MTV book of the month selection, it tries to be universal instead of specific - even in it's characters. Joan Cussack is billed, but her role amounts to two scenes at the VERY end of the film, so (although she's no 'star' attraction) you spend most of the time thinking "I thought Joan Cussack was in this?" But I guess this film is meant for a generation who doesn't know Joan Cussack, is texting during the credits, and doesn't know Pittsburgh, and wasn't alive in 1990.
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A Mediocre Attempt
colossus248 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I wanted to like this movie. I read the book about a decade ago, while in my late teens, and the story resonated with me on several levels. I have been hoping (and praying as much as an atheist can pray) that the Hollydood commerce machine would not screw it up. Alas, in vain.

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.
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Well, yes. I guess.
lassehold16 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I viewed this film as something I've seen before. I'd go so far that I thought it was more something very typical for these kinds of movies and it was also very overstated. When this should be a character driven film, it's plot is way too controlling.

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.
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An affectionate and likable teen drama
TheGatsby18 October 2012
American high-school movies. Yes another one. In tackling the pitfalls and plateaus of adolescence, many films have fallen along the bad side of cliché, however it's important to remember that like every genre (well, nearly) it has had its successes; for me, John Hughes seminal The Breakfast Club instantly springs to mind, along with others such as Pretty in Pink, Mean Girls and Clueless. Fortunately, The Perks of Being a Wallflower takes a decent stab at falling into the same category as these films; and while it doesn't scale to their heights, it's a surprisingly likable coming-of-age drama.

Based on Stephen Chbosky's 1999 bestseller on the same name (he also writes and directs here), the film concerns freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman) as he experiences difficulty at home and school. However, he falls in with a group of seniors, including Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson), who show him what is to be a "wallflower". He encounters depression, suicide, drugs, alcohol, homophobia, love, heartbreak, David Bowie and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I was sincerely taken aback by the fact that Charlie did not annoy me; too many high-school films and TV shows nowadays centre of smart- mouthed, wiser-than-their years teens, so it was refreshing to have one relatable and natural. This is mainly due to Lerman who delivers a sincere and engaging performance. While Emma Watson shows clear evidence of a career beyond Potter. However, it's Miller who's the standout; after holding his own with the brilliant Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin, he doesn't disappoint, despite being saddled with the 'flamboyant gay best friend' role.

Chbosky's direction is nothing to marvel at and the script not one of the year's best, but overall, to quote South Park's Deapartment of Interior Security Guy, it's "fine, just fine". A sweet, enjoyable and honest look at those years we'll never forget.
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