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Review

‘Perks’ highlights adolescent struggles

Amanda White

October 25, 2012

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is the best movie I’ve seen since Oscar season. The movie was adapted from a novel of the same name and it stays remarkably true to the book, something I attribute to the fact that the book’s author, Stephen Chbosky, is also the film’s screenwriter and director.

Movie poster for The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Logan Lerman plays Charlie, Emma Watson plays Sam and Ezra Miller plays Patrick in the screen adaptation of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

For a novel’s author to have this amount of control over the writing and directing of a movie adaptation is rare and exciting.

The vision Chbosky had in mind while writing the novel is the same vision achieved with the movie.

As a fan of the book, which was written in 1999, I was ecstatic to learn that Chbosky was going to do the novel justice.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is the coming-of-age story of Charlie, a boy who is awkward, lonely and not cool. His only friend committed suicide months before Charlie started high school.

When Charlie starts high school, he begins writing to an anonymous person, only addressing them as “friend.”

Charlie eventually finds two friends in Sam and Patrick, a stepsister and stepbrother duo. They are seniors, but they still welcome Charlie into their fold.

Charlie goes through many experiences through the course of the movie, some bad, some good. He is “both happy and sad at the same time” and that is what makes Charlie and his struggles so relatable for teenagers and young adults.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is our generation’s “The Breakfast Club” or “Clueless.”
Perhaps the most perfect part of the movie is the cast. Logan Lerman plays Charlie, Emma Watson plays Sam and Ezra Miller plays Patrick; I don’t think better people could have been chosen.

I was originally a little wary of the casting of Lerman as Charlie, simply because Charlie is a character with a dark, melancholy personality, and I’ve never seen Lerman in such a role. I needn’t have worried. Lerman pulled off sad, sweet and naïve perfectly.

Watson as Sam was a good decision on Watson’s part. It is a perfect role for Watson to shed her “Hermione” persona. Sam is an ex-bad girl with a few secrets of her own, and she is the light of Charlie’s world. Watson plays Sam with a fragility that was rarely seen in the “Harry Potter” films.

Before “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” I had never seen Miller in any other film.
He certainly looked the part of Patrick, who is dramatic and larger-than-life.

Miller is the gem in this movie and my favorite of the three. He was so much more than I was expecting.

I am looking forward to seeing the film again so I can focus on his performance.
Perhaps a star in its own right, the soundtrack to “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is not one to fade into the background.

Music is an important aspect of the novel as well; the songs “Heroes” by David Bowie and “Asleep” by the Smiths might as well be Charlie’s anthems.

I am not familiar with that era of music, but it certainly fit the bill.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is terrific. I might be biased because I love the book so much (it’s worth a read if you haven’t read it yet).

However, reading the novel isn’t necessary to appreciate the movie.

Chbosky does a fine job of telling the story of one teenager’s life in a way that resonates with anyone dealing with the difficulties of growing up.

Amanda White is a junior majoring in journalism. She appreciates good books, good style, and good conversation.

Comments

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One response to ‘Perks’ highlights adolescent struggles

  1. Elliot Novak says:

    This book meant a lot to me when I was in High School. Couldn’t even try to convey it in an internet comment. Anyways, it is inevitable that I will therefore see the movie, but I am scared of it altering the story/book for me. Book recommendation for anyone who likes Perks; “How I Became Stupid” by Martin Page.