"I can see it. This one moment when you know you're not a sad story. You are alive, and you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you're listening to that song and that drive with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment I swear, we are infinite."
-THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
Watching "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is like listening to a pretty song. That song that really touches upon your heart and senses your emotions. To keep that song alive, you listen to it over and over. You become addicted to it's beauty. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" has been stuck with me since the moment it ended. All I want to do right now is watch the movie and let it embrace me one more time. This is one beautiful film. At a time in my life where I need inspiration and have no idea what exactly I want to do, a coming-of-age film is exactly what I needed at this moment in time.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower revolves around Charlie, a 15 year-old going into high-school. Sad and alone ever since his best-friend committed suicide, he struggles to find where he belongs. When two high-school seniors take Charlie under their wings, he is introduced to a whole new world.
Adapted from the book released in 1999, The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been a critical success. I've seen this book on many occasions at different book stores over the years but never really took any thought in reading it. I'm glad, however, that I didn't. Seeing the film on this exact day has truly done a lot for me. Being the same age as these characters and going through the same life problems, I connected with each of them. Reading the book at a time other than now might have been a different experience. Although, I will say that the book is on the top of my reading list now that I've seen the movie. I can't speak on if the movie is faithful to the novel or not, but since the film was written and directed by the author, Stephen Chbosky, I'm sure it is adapted perfectly.
There are a lot of wonderful things that come from this film. First off is Logan Lerman. You may remember him from Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief, which was predicted to be his big break, but unfortunately that fell short. His name has appeared in other films such as "The Number 23" with Jim Carrey, but as an actor, his name hasn't yet become memorable. That is until now. Unsure what to think before seeing the film, Lerman certainly surprised me the most. He leads this film perfectly as Charlie, a character pretty much any teenager can connect to. He carries this film impressively and does more than I could ever expect from him. He understands his character and walks that fine line, between depression and no-stakes, and does it phenomenally. Without question, Lerman's performance as Charlie is probably the best I've seen all year. Funny, heartfelt, and introvert all at the same time.
Emma Watson has graduated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to join the real world. Her character in the film, Sam, is displayed as the love interest. She's quirky, funny, and genuinely lovable right from the start. You instantly begin to root for her and Charlie before any indication of a "romance" is given just because you can feel how perfect both characters are to each other. Watson's performance is wonderful and probably the best I've ever seen of her. You Harry Potter fans can fight me on this all you want but from an acting perspective, this is her best movie. She and Lerman have a deep, satisfying connection that only comes along every once in a while nowadays. The best thing the film does is keeping things unpredictable. Due to the four year age gap between Charlie and Sam, you never really know if both characters will end up together, or if they are even meant to be. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is real. Even if both characters are meant to be, the film takes real-life into consideration (not movie-magic) and gives us the honest truth on relationships. That's the films strongest factor.
Ezra Miller is the comedic-value to the film in a strong performance as Nothing AKA Patrick. You might remember Miller from last year's independent hit, "We Need to Talk About Kevin". Miller is a great actor and he proves that once again with his performance here. In the beginning of a hopefully long acting career, I hope Miller finds the tunnel to fame with "The Perks of Being a Wallflower". He certainly deserves some recognition.
Then the film includes much bigger named actors such as Paul Rudd and Nina Dobrev who give smaller roles. These performances aren't really memorable of course but they do mean a lot to the film's lead character, Charlie. Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries) plays Charlie's sister while Paul Rudd plays his advanced English teacher. Rudd's character and Charlie both have a very Dead Poet's Society kind of relationship. Charlie's teacher understands him and sees a younger version of himself. He also inspires Charlie to some day want to be a writer. Rudd and Dobrev may not have been too important, but they did have some good screen-time that I personally enjoyed from them.
The writing is absolutely excellent. Chbosky has a way with words and I can only imagine how great of a read the source-material is. The dialogue between all of the characters is wonderful. Just watching the characters sit around and talk about life is fascinating thanks to the quirky, but realistic dialogue. The actors in this film had a great script to work with and it's no wonder why each and every performance was top-notch. His fine script and beautiful direction have really made a small masterpiece out of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Independent films like this are what I strive for and are examples of why I love movies so much.
If you take no interest and just want to push away this fine film, then you are making one huge mistake. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a character-driven, emotionally-beautiful film that tells the story of teenagers who deal with love, violence, drugs, suicide, and the fear of what comes next. This was one beautiful, touching film. It's not to be missed. Once viewing you'll sit in silence thinking over the truly great film you just experienced. Your heart will skip a beat and in that moment, I swear, you'll feel infinite.
Thanks for the read!
-Written by Corey Wood