Arts & Entertainment - Movie Review: The Perks of Being a Wall Flower

It seems the only thing to look forward to when visiting the theaters these days are reboots, remakes, painfully predictable or uninspired flicks, and endless movies that have explosions as the plotline. But among the new norm, there comes a movie every once and a while that manages to use a common old formula and take it for a unique and memorable spin. The Perks of Being a Wall Flower is such a film.
The novel-inspired story follows a teenager named Charlie who has just started high school. Charlie is shy and self-conscious, so making friends and fitting in isn’t easy at first. But when he takes a chance at a football game, he meets Patrick and Sam, two seniors who take Charlie under their wings.
From there, the movie chronicles their endeavors and adventures. The problems Charlie faces are the common culprits of the typical high school formula; we’ve seen them before in movies, like the Breakfast Club. But this movie is updated for this generation with its timeless nature and doesn’t alienate viewers who aren’t teenagers.
Not only does Perks portray the common ups and downs of high school with honestly and sincerity, but addresses the more serious issues. These tougher issues, which include homophobia, drug use, sexuality, suicide, and psychological problems, are what really drive the film and pack an emotional uppercut.
But the story alone doesn’t make the film complete; the actors’ performances are what bring this film to life. Logan Lerman plays Charlie, our hero of the story, and portrays him with a subtle but strong performance that stands out so that anyone who calls himself an introvert can relate to him.
Emma Watson plays Sam, a character whose kindred free spirit makes her very memorable. This role plays well against her typecast as Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series and shows she is a versatile actor.
Erza Miller completely nails the role of Patrick, who’s very eccentric, humorous, and has a strong presence. Paul Rudd, Mae Whitman, Nina Dobrev, and Johnny Simmons are among a solid supporting cast that can’t be ignored as they stick out in their own right.
The film can point its success to the story’s author, Steven Chbosky. Chbosky wrote the bestselling book that this film is based upon, wrote the screenplay for the movie, and directed the movie himself. While this is almost unheard of when popular books are adapted to the big screen, it is the obvious reason for this movie’s triumph on all levels. Who is better to work with the source material than the creator himself? This movie proves that good results are possible with the author’s intervention in the film.
Despite being both a fan of the book and the movie, I will admit this story is not for everyone. If you don’t like high school movies, thought provoking issues, or have a taste for explosions and the Hangover Part Nth, you might want to pass this one up. But anyone who likes quality films, remembers the struggles that some people go through, or just remember high school in general should see it. With a solid story, bold cinematic qualities, and a nostalgic 90’s soundtrack, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a must-see.

GRADE: A

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