‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ an insightful, honest coming-of-age drama
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Directed by Stephen Chbosky
Written by Stephen Chbosky
There are times during The Perks of Being a Wallflower when it looks like this film will be able to stand alongside such cinematic coming-of-age landmarks as Stand by Me and Rushmore, that its quality will remain steady and unwavering. However, throughout the film, knowledge of the source material feels mandatory, not suggested. Even if a movie’s based on a book, play, or musical, prior awareness of what’s being adapted shouldn’t be demanded of each audience member to appreciate its value. While The Perks of Being a Wallflower is sometimes incisive and surprisingly serious-minded, it never quite reaches the same pinnacle as other classics of the genre.
Logan Lerman plays Charlie, a shy teenager—manifesting most obviously in a near-physical rigidity—beginning high school after an apparently rough summer that included a mysterious hospital stay. Charlie delves into his innermost thoughts only via letters to an unnamed acquaintance, but makes a few close friends at his Pittsburgh-area high school, including Sam and Patrick (Emma Watson and Ezra Miller), stepsiblings with similarly quirky tastes in music, film, and life. Charlie quickly falls head over heels in love with Sam; however, as much as Charlie wants his life to become simpler, past events keep pushing at his mind, causing him anguish and grief he can barely handle.