Movie Review: The Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012)

Posted: October 16, 2013 in Drama
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Charlie (Logan Lerman) is a shy, bookish, high-school freshman.  He is so shy that he doesn’t say a word in his first day of English class.  Charlie is so shy that his English teacher, Mr. Anderson, (Paul Rudd) befriends him.  Charlie finds another friend in high school senior, Patrick (Ezra Miller) in shop class.  Patrick introduces Charlie to his half-sister, Sam, (Emma Watson) at a football game.  Charlie immediately falls in love with Sam, even though Sam is in love with Craig (Reece Thompson) who is in college.  At a party, Charlie eats funny brownies and makes more friends.  Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman) is a bossy girl, who wants Charlie to go to a Sadie Hawkins day dance with her.  Charlie and Mary Elizabeth go out for two weeks, but then Charlie kisses Sam during a game of truth or dare, and that one act puts their group of friends in danger.  But then Charlie gets into a fight with Brad (Johnny Simmons) and his bully friends, they are bullying Patrick. During the fight Charlie blacks out.  When he wakes up, the bullies are knocked out, and Charlie is still standing.  Why is a football player and his goons bullying Patrick? Why is Charlie blacking out?

One word for this movie is overwrought.  A lot of the experiences in this movie don’t exactly ring true to the high school experience I remember.  First Charlie is so shy, he can barely talk, but soon he has a bunch of high school senior friends, albeit outcast friends.  Seniors never hang out with freshman, that just doesn’t happen, seniors don’t have intense feelings for freshmen, no matter how many funny brownies they eat.  Everything in this movie is so intense and condensed that 4 years’ worth of angst packed into one year.  But then all of a sudden, the movie redeems itself with a reveal, I won’t say what it is, but it ties the movie together nicely.  The romance between Charlie and Sam is still unrealistic, but the story makes more sense and it’s grounded in something besides the everyday high school angst.  There’s a lot of drug use portrayed in this film, not the usual pot smoking, but there’s a scene where Charlie takes LSD, and so I don’t think tweens should watch it even though the movie is rated PG 13 older teens can watch it, and talk about it with your parents or an older sibling, because there are a lot of issues in this movie, and you will want to discuss these issues with someone older, if you are a teen.  I don’t necessarily agree with their point of view on peer pressure and drugs, but I will leave that to you, gentle reader of this blog.

The acting is quite good.  Emma Watson struggles a bit with her American accent, but it holds up well and she gives a good, heartfelt performance.  The real stars are the supporting cast.  Logan Lerman plays Charlie with a sincerity and earnestness that is rare in these coming of age films.  Ezra Miller is wonderful as Patrick, playing the serious and comedic scenes with equal aplomb.  Mae Whitman is also very good as Mary Elizabeth, she handles the complexity of her role well. And it’s nice to see Paul Rudd in a serious, contemplative, role, he acquits himself quite nicely.  It’s a refreshing change from his comedic roles. The actors that play the teens look a lot older than teens, but that’s a minor detail.

It’s a long movie, an hour and 45 minutes, but it’s paced well, and there’s a good story to be told, so watch it.

The Perks of Being A Wallflower:  Plant yourself in a chair and watch it.

  1. Mira says:

    The book is good. I’m reading it now. Had no idea they made it into a movie. The cast is fabulous for the movie. I’m curious to see it for myself. Thanks for the heads-up. Didn’t read all the spoilers 😉

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