Some films, despite all of their flaws, do a wonderful thing. They connect to you personally, and connecting personally to you, they give you a different feeling. They make you think, not just about the film, but about your own life. The Perks of Being a Wallflower does this wonderfully. This, however, does not mean I would recommend the movie to everybody. People that like awkward teen humor, or eclectic high school characters would welcome the movie. People looking to analyze the merits of a character’s decisions at every turn may not enjoy the film. People that know what it’s like to be new at a school, or to be alienated by people may want to take a chance with this one. I did, and I didn’t regret it.
The movie(based on the popular book by Stephen Chbosky) centers around Charlie(Logan Lerman), a high school freshman in the early 90’s. After a certain event occurred in Charlie’s life, he enters freshman year without friends. He encounters two very interesting characters in Patrick(Ezra Miller) and Sam(Emma Watson), step siblings that live their lives with a constant sense of spontaneity, something utterly lacking in Charlie’s life.
The rest of the story chronicles the ups and downs of their friendship, as well as the ups and downs of being a freshman and a senior in high school. While the third act results in something that could use a little tighter editing, the story certainly felt like enduring a whole school year. By the end of the movie, you feel like you could be friends with these characters too.
The acting, for the most part, is fantastic. Logan Lerman pretends like he never made Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief while dialing in a fantastic performance as Charlie. Charlie is subtle, unassuming, but also fearless in his conquest to be a happy person. Lerman does a tremendous job in making you feel for him. Emma Watson is also great, though her American accent needs some major fixing. The revelation here is Ezra Miller as Patrick. Too many times in movies, gay characters are reduced to just comic relief or are used to a lesser extent than they should be. This movie decides to bring a gay character front and center, which it should be proud of, since many movies decide to veer away from that subject completely. Miller is great here, and it helps that his character is brilliantly written as well.
The thing the movie does best is reach out to those out there with problems similar to the ones faced by the characters in this film. Rejection, hatred, depression and loneliness are all themes dealt here, and they’re dealt with wonderfully. If you’re a person who has dealt with these kinds of things, this movie may touch you profoundly, like the way it has for me.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, while not perfect, is still a necessary film. It has the capacity to connect to the viewer in ways that some films haven’t dared tried. Betwixt this and Cloud Atlas, I think I’ve found two of my favorite movies of the year.
Critics Score(according to Rottentomatoes.com): 86%
My Score: 9/10