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Monday, 29 October 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower review

When a project to turn a successful book into a film gets the green-light, there is usually one overwhelming feeling that grips readers: concern. Will it be any good? Who will they cast as my favourite character? How will they direct this scene? Are they making it for fans like me or are they going to sell out the books ideals and morals for a bigger profit? And when you consider the disasters that were the 'Twilight' series or 'The Da Vinci Code', can you really blame readers for being on edge when their favourite book gets the Hollywood treatment?

I'm glad to inform fans of the book that the film is fantastic and I'm certain that it won't let you down.

For those not familiar with the story, 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' centres on Charlie, an introvert, aspiring writer who is trying to cope with his mental illness as he starts high-school. His best friend committed suicide months before the start of the film, leaving Charlie completely alone. Patrick, resident class clown and the only senior in his shop class, takes him under his wing, as does his step-sister Sam. These two eccentric individuals introduce Charlie to a world of friendship, love and above all, belonging.

Logan Lerman was fantastic as protagonist Charlie. He portrayed a very likeable, but deeply troubled character with a sense of vulnerability that sustained throughout the duration of the film. I feel as though most viewers could identify with the loner in some shape or form, whether it was with his unpopularity or the way he puts everyone else's well-being above his own, it's hard not to feel somewhat connected to Charlie. Emma Watson's acting was on top form, although her accent wasn't quite as flawless. It proved distracting for the first couple of scenes that she was in, but you slowly get used to hearing Sam's voice coming out of Hermione's body. For me, Watson's stand out scene was when Sam learned that Charlie's best friend had shot himself, and all she could do was stare at him in complete shock, looking completely heartbroken for this isolated boy. The scene that followed in which Patrick (played by the wonderful Ezra Miller) is informed about Charlie's best friend's death and asks the room to toast Charlie, initiating him into the group. It was such a beautiful scene, its emotion only amplified by the clueless expression on Charlie's face as to why they were being so nice to him. 

We have Stephen Chbosky to thank for not only this film, but this novel too. Both the book and film were written by him, and he also directed it too. The intimate way in which Chbosky must know these characters by now really does shine throughout the film, with his informed direction impacting on the individual performances as well as the production as a whole. It's the little things, such as the creative choice to introduce the film with abstract shots of a tunnel, the same tunnel in which Charlie first proclaims that he feels "infinite", that makes the film such a pleasure to watch.

The plot makes for, hands down, the most heartfelt film of 2012. It had a great mix of moments of hilarity, and scenes of intimacy. It was a teen movie, but without any of the generic, two-dimensional characters that we are used to enduring within them. Many teenagers face issues, quite similar to the ones in which the characters in the film have to face, but have these dismissed by society, who see only what they allow them to see. To finally have someone paint a realistic picture of what it's like to be teenager in such a beautifully heartfelt way is an absolute blessing.

It's hard not to watch 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' and not to feel somewhat nostalgic. The odd thing is, I came out of the cinema feeling nostalgic for music I wasn't around to appreciate, for things that I've yet to experience and people that I've yet to meet. The music was a big part of creating this sense of nostalgia, and without it, I don't know if the film would have worked on the same level. I recommend that you check out the soundtrack and if you like what you see, do the characters of the film proud and buy it on vinyl.

All in all, 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' is a heartwarming film that is as well written as it is acted, and anyone who writes it off as 'chick-flick' is missing out on what is potentially one of the best films of the year.

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