Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky, 2012)

    So, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. It took me long enough, but I finally got around to seeing it. One of the best movies of last year hands down. It's so real for lack of a better word. I had high expectations going into this since the film has been getting such positive feedback; and Perks definitely lived up to those expectations, and then some.

The performances by the three leads were solid. Logan Lerman, who I've heard of but never actually seen in a film before, was fantastic in his role as the socially awkward Charlie. His character's journey is a roller-coaster and Lerman does a fine job of holding on. We continue to discover new things about Charlie throughout the movie, just as the character itself is doing. I don't know what your high school experience was but ,no matter if you were a popular kid or a nerd, you will find this film extremely relatable. Stepping into the film through the eyes of Charlie will either give clarity to your own high school experience or have you see the cruel and beautiful world of adolescence through a different set of eyes.
    People love classifying each other into different boxes. The same applies to The Perks Of Being A Wallflower where several high school stereotypes are highlighted (Emma Watson as the girl with the reputation, Ezra Miller as the class clown goofball, Logan Lerman as the book-loving geek, for example). Yet, the film is willing to explore each character in-depth. It is interested not in breaking the stereotypes but in exposing the factors that lie just beneath the surface and make each character very much their own being.
    I was able to relate to all of the three leads, although I mostly shared the same experiences as Lerman's Charlie in high school. By my senior year of high school, I did possess some of Miller's Patrick's clowning traits. Yet now, in college, I associate myself more with Watson's Sam. People constantly change, perhaps in a bid to keep up with the world around them. This is beautifully rendered in the film where, like I said before, we continue to discover new things about the lead character, just as he himself is undergoing that change.
    I could continue raving about the heartfelt performances in this film and how real the film feels (the blatant use of homophobic slurs, the party scenes, nerd shaming, repression, conformity or lack thereof, basically high school),  but there are other factors that make this film so successful. There is the gorgeous cinematography:

There is the flawless soundtrack:

There is the dialogue. As someone who has never read the book, I was fully taken with that final quote, which I'd never heard before. "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite". Ugh, beautiful!

    The Perks Of Being A Wallflower contains lessons that not only apply to high school life, but life beyond that and into infinity.

Ludovico Rating:

4.5/5. I would definitely watch this film again. One of the best films I've ever seen.


  1. Good review Teddy. One of my favorite flicks of the year and with all good reason, it shows high school in the way that I can best remember it. Everything here just struck a chord with me and it was unlike any other high school movie I have ever seen before, because of the beautiful and raw emotions I felt. In case you wondering, yes, I teared up quite a bit.

    1. Right? It just resonates with me too. I was Charlie and I still am on some levels. Still quiet at times and very much introverted. I agree with you about it being so different from any other high school movies. Most of them are satires and try to make light of the subject (which is not really a bad thing, Mean Girls and Heathers). But, Perks is just so real, it clicks. I feel you, I really do. I teared up towards the end (especially after the denouement of the aunt's story).
      Thank you for your kind words, Dan.