Emma Watson and Logan Lerman headline this adaption of a best selling novel about high school and how to survive it. My review.
A high school drama can be a hard thing to make good in the movie world. Sometimes its hurt by not being relatable, sometimes the actors suck, and sometimes its just a corny and stupid story. The Perk of Being a Wallflower isn’t any of those, it excels in all of them.
It follows the story of a entering freshman (played by Logan Lerman) who is a little nervous about entering high school. Luckily he comes across a very eccentric senior (played by Ezra Miller) and his step-sister (played by Emma Watson) who kind of take him under their wing and open him up.
But that’s whats so great about this movie, the story is more than that. Each of the main characters has a somewhat dark past that they are trying to get through but during the course of the movie it rears its ugly head and challenges them. This becomes more than just a high school, coming of age drama but more of a study of humans and how we find ourselves through our friends and the act of growing up through adversity.
The stand out performance to me was Ezra Miller as Patrick. Patrick is gay and, without giving up too much detail, is struggling with his relationship. Normally a very energetic and positive person, this problem makes Patrick more vulnerable and such an interesting character. Miller does this well and can play the highs and lows of Patrick so very well that you get sucked into his character. While his issues are secondary to the lead, Charlie (Lerman), he still steals the scenes he is in and was a joy to watch in the movie.
The two larger leads, Watson and Lerman, do a great job as well. For Watson, it was mainly breaking her out of the Harry Potter mold and making you believe that she can be someone else outside of Hermione Granger and she does this. Her character, Sam, is loveable and someone the audience can fall in love with even with her faults. Lerman shows us that he actually can act outside of the big budget fares like Percy Jackson or Three Musketeers. This makes me interested to see him do more dramatic stuff and stretch his acting skills more.
While the story is great, the flaws it has are kind of rushing up the issues of our main character Charlie. We know something is wrong at the beginning of the movie and it is somewhat referenced throughout the first two acts but it seems to just all fall down in the second act and I felt like the screenwriter, who wrote the novel and directed the movie, realized that he had to show what was wrong with Charlie and just tore him down quickly before the climax. This didn’t hurt the film it just slowed it down a bit.
The directing by Stephen Chbosky was solid for a first time director and it was kind of neat that he was the author of the novel and got the chance to direct and write the movie version.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a very touching teen, coming of age drama that should pull at your heartstrings and bring back some nostalgia of high school at the same time. It has great performances led by Ezra Miller and a fun soundtrack. I’d check it out if you have it showing near you.