It is probably a fair assumption that the major draw for a lot of movie goers to Perks of Being a Wallflower is Emma Watson assuming they are not familiar with the book. That is not to say she over shadows the popularity of the book but after the box office powerhouse that is the Harry Potter franchise, you kind of cannot help but want to see what else these young actors have to offer outside of the wizardry world. Daniel Radcliffe stepped into a different paranormal realm for The Woman in Black which was a tad disappointing and I also just saw Rupert Grint in Wild Target which was surprisingly fun. So now Emma Watson gets a chance to show a bit of the next face of her career in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Here is a brief introduction to The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Charlie (Logan Lerman) is a shy and reserved student battling some personal demons who is just entering his freshman year of high school and is trying to figure out where he fits. First day goes about as rough as he expected, people Charlie thought he was close to as some point and now brush him off including his sister who is a senior. Instead Charlie develops a friendship with a bold senior, Patrick (Ezra Miller), who is in his freshman shop class. To help Charlie meet people, Patrick invites him to a house party of other social out-casts including Patrick’s step-sister, Sam (Emma Watson). Here is the trailer:
Having never read the book I can only go by how the story was portrayed in the movie. The book’s author is Stephen Chbosky and also the writer and director of the movie so I am going to make a bold statement right now that this may be one of the few movies to best follow the author’s vision for the novel as oppose to a lot of the Stephen King novel based films. Chbosky does a great job of storytelling with this movie and what I mean by that is that there is not any fluff or scenes that the movie could have done without. Each scene incremental in developing all of the characters and the plot. This is not the first movie about a loner being taken under the wing of a group of friends but there is definitely something refreshing about it because it feels natural and unforced. Usually I find myself rolling my eyes at some of the cheesy feel good points in these kind of movies but what Chbosky does so well is lead up to those and not just throw them at you.
The best thing about this movie is how well drawn every character is. Starting with the main character Charlie, I cannot remember the exact quote from the beginning of the film but Charlie essentially says that he is content with his life is of being alone. Nonetheless Charlie takes the advice of his father of keeping his head up and talk to people even though he is not really comfortable with it. Logan Lerman nailed this performance of someone tries to appear calm, collected, and happy on the inside even though internally he is scared from a complex relationship with his deceased aunt.
Then you have the free-spirited step sibling duo of Patrick and Sam (Ezra Miller and Emma Watson respectively). Patrick is the first person that Charlie is able to comfortably introduce himself to because he finds courage in Patrick’s self effacing demeanor. As light-hearted as Patrick may be, when his heart is broken by the high school quarterback he takes on a deeper emotional role. Miller owned this role and may in fact be the best performance in the film. The perfect complement to Patrick is Sam who is the polar opposite of the Watson role we are used to seeing of an uptight, book nerd. Instead Sam is a middle of the road student and used to have a reputation of sleeping around, keyword being “used” to. That said the new Sam is a tad more reserved being that she is in a relationship with an older “college guy” but Watson plays the role very honestly.
One of the other pluses to The Perks of Being a Wildflower is the soundtrack. The best way to describe it is like a mix tape which is a reoccurring object in the film of different songs to communicate what is meant to be felt throughout the movie.
The Perks of Being a Wildflower seems to be creeping under the radar of a lot of movie goers and it should not. As of right now, this movie has a comfortable spot in my top ten movie of the year as a film about the meaning of friendship. I give it a 9/10.