Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie review.

I'll confess, that when this movie ended, I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to say about it. All I knew is that I loved it. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, based on the beloved book by Stephen Chbosky (who actually wrote and directed the movie), really seems to resonate with a lot of people, and I can see why. I can also see why others might not like it.

We open up with our main character Charlie (Logan Lerman), who is beginning his first year of high school. He's an outsider at first, but soon finds unlikely friends with two seniors. the flamboyant and energetic Patrick (Ezra Miller), and his step sister Sam (Emma Watson), and he's then later accepted into their larger group of friends. Sam refers to them as the island of misfit toys. Everything is not all a bowl of cherries, though. Problems arise in several areas between each of the characters, Charlie having the most focus of them.

Charlie may just look and act like a typical teenager on the surface at first, but that's something that Stephen Chbosky transcends. Charlie, and the other friends he makes, are all complexly written characters with believable problems, their own charms, and unique personalities. All of the cast help with this as well. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Mae Whitman, and especially the terrific Ezra Miller, keep their characters from feeling like one note stereotypes, serving as appropriate embodiments of real problems teenagers face.

You can especially thank Chbosky for balancing out all of these characters so well, for this is such a rich, character driven experience. But on top of that, he also takes time to properly examine themes. He brings up issues of depression, social outsidership, bullying, childhood trauma, failed relationships, closeted homosexuality, and even suicide without dancing around them. In fact, he confronts them head on.

I do understand why people would think all of this artificial, arguing of how things like this have been dealt with before. As for that, I do agree that there are moments of artificiality, but not too much to destroy it for me. Is it perfect? No, but for me, it always depends on execution, and something about this just feels very honest.

****1/2 / *****

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