Release Date: 12 October 2012 (USA)
Cast: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller
Running Time: 1h 42 min
Based on the novel by Stephen Chbosky, Perks of Being a Wallflower follows the life of socially awkward high schooler, Charlie, who has just moved to a new school, and a new house after the suicide of his best friend. But as he struggles to come to terms with his new life and the pain of his past, Charlie writes to his imaginary friend about his feelings and his thoughts as he makes a name for himself in his new neighborhood.
Spurred on by his parents, Charlie soon realizes that he needs to put himself out there and make new friends. So, he befriends Patrick, and Patrick’s stepsister Sam. As he becomes more confident with his new friends, Charlie begins to come out of his shell, and his love for literature is revealed to his teacher, Mr. Anderson.
As time goes on, Charlie falls in love with Sam and the new world that they’ve created for him – but instead of revealing his feelings for Sam, Charlie decides to date their mutual friend, Mary Elizabeth. However, the pair soon ends things, and Charlie is asked to stay away from the group for a while. This distance and rejection triggers Charlie’s dormant mental illness, and he is soon sent to a hospital where he is treated by a psychiatrist.
During the course of his treatment, Charlie finally realizes the cause of his illness, his social awkwardness and the events that have happened in his life – but he will always remember his friendship with Patrick and Sam as some of the best days in his life.
If you’re looking for the kind of movie that ends in a happily-ever-after, where everyone’s problems are resolved, and the sun shines brightly, Perks of Being a Wallflower isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for something that is raw, real and authentic, then this is the perfect movie for you.
When seemingly Young-Adult books are adapted into movies, they often lose their message and their personality. But in Perks of Being a Wallflower, the characters and the story seem to gain much more. This movie shows us just how intimate, and personal a story can be – and one that I think will resonate with thousands of young people all across the world.
This story is one that is multi-layered. With each new development, we uncover more about the characters, their plights and their past. Rather than looking into the future, like so many Hollywood blockbusters do (no, this isn’t going to tell you all about their pursuit to college and their cheerleading practice) this movie looks into the dark depths of the human psyche and how certain events can change your whole life, for the better or for, the worse. The movie explores mature and intense themes, like mental illness, sexual abuse, drugs, and homosexuality – in a way that will relate to anyone’s life. This movie makes us think deeply about these issues, and that sometimes they are closer to home than you think.
However, hidden among the storyline is incredible storylines. Between intimate exchanges are long-spanning, clear shots of the Pittsburgh skyline that perfectly compliment and contradict each other. A true cinematic wonder.
4 stars for this movie; although it would have been 5, but we had to take one away for Emma Watson’s slightly awkward American accent…