High school can be painful. Life can be painful. For anyone who has ever felt like the loner, the loser, the misfit that will never belong, I’ve got a film for you.
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” based on the popular book by the same name, is a poignant story told masterfully in a beautiful book-to-screen translation.
Charlie (Logan Lerman) is an introverted high school freshman counting down the days until he graduates. He’s incredibly bright, but alone, and in desperate need of a crowd and sense of belonging. Two seniors, Patrick (Ezra Miller) and his step-sister Sam (Emma Watson), welcome him into their group of “misfit toys.”
David Ferguson, on his blog, described “Wallflower” as darker John Hughes movie with pieces of “Stand By Me” and “Almost Famous” and that’s exactly what it is. This movie is “The Breakfast Club,” but evolved for a new generation.
I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know how faithful it is, but given that Stephen Chbosky not only directed the film, but wrote the novel and screenplay, I’m going to assume it’s pretty close. It’s easy to understand the popularity of the book.
It’s a universal story of trying to belong and the awkwardness of adolescence filled with characters you can relate to. In high school, you knew these kids, you may have been one of these kids, or at least felt like one of them.
The story is set in the late 80’s or early 90’s. It’s never explicitly said but it doesn’t really matter, the story is timeless. These characters are ageless. They’re archetypes, but without being stereotypes.
Charlie is a shy loner who reads to avoid reality, Patrick is flamboyant and makes others laugh to mask his own pain, and Sam who wants to be loved but doesn’t feel worthy of it. These three are brought to life with brilliant performances, that are deep and layered.
The adults in this movie aren’t given much to do because it’s not about them, but they still provide important background roles. Paul Rudd, Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh, and Melanie Lynskey are give excellent supporting performances. Joan Cusack also pops up near the end of the film.
Music also plays an important role in the movie. This film as a killer soundtrack anchored by David Bowie’s “Heroes.” The music here, like it often does in real life, captures the mood and sets a tone for the movie.
“Wallflower” is a story-driven movie about characters, and people. It’s sad, and intense at times, with funny moments, and some very endearing and touching scenes. In other words, it’s a movie about life, and finding your place in it.
- Film Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (teamfogreviews.com)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) (moviereviewsfromthedark.wordpress.com)
- ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ Clip: Welcome to the Island of Misfit Toys (screenrant.com)