Love Always, Charlie.
It is quite surprising to see Stephen Chbosky, the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower, also directing the film accompanying his book. Considering this is Chbosky’s first blockbuster film, there wasn’t much of a previous portfolio to base him on. Since writing and directing this screen adaptation to his book, Chbosky has helped to write the live-action version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and was co-creator, executive producer, and writer of the CBS television series Jericho. His charming drama with a hint of comedic influence encompasses the many struggles that a teenager may experience today: such as abusive relationships, first loves, unpopular sexuality, and the power of genuine companions.
“Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we’re nothing?”
- “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
Charlie (Logan Lerman) is a new high school freshman coping with the suicide of his best friend, as well as his own mental health. He soon befriends Sam (Emma Watson), and Patrick (Ezra Miller), are seniors who are outgoing outcasts themselves and soon welcome him to their “island of misfit toys”. The rest of the movie follows the group’s adventures through the school year, from the production of the iconic Rocky Horror Picture Show, parties, late night drives, and the construction of the perfect cassette tape playlist. One of my favorite scenes is when Charlie, Sam, and Patrick are driving at night after ditching their high school homecoming and are simply driving around and listening to music. This scene is iconic because when Sam is standing in the back of the truck while it’s driving and blasting classic Bowie and Charlie is watching her, it sets up one of the most famous lines in the movie: “I feel infinite.” I personally relate to this scene because some of my favorite memories with my friends are when we would simply drive and listen to music. The film follows the group of friends throughout the school year and partially follows Charlie into the next school year after Sam and Patrick graduate.
Casting for this film couldn’t have been any better. Lerman is the perfect embodiment of a lost teenager many of us were just trying to fit in. He is incredible at acting small and defenseless, and fits his character’s profile extremely well. Watson is always charming in any role she plays, and in this film she is the perfect fit for her high school senior character. Seeing her as an outgoing spirit is an interesting shift from her role as Hermione in the famous serious Harry Potter. And of course, Miller captures the perfect mix of quirkiness and a carefree lifestyle to compliment Sam’s gentle nature. The classic camera work makes this film enjoyable to watch, and really captures the retro atmosphere that Chbosky emphasized in his novel. One scene that I feel that really captures the emotion that each actor or actress brings forth can be found here. In this scene you can see how well Lerman portrays Charlie as a shy, introverted freshman, and how well Watson and Miller can be outspoken people that are proud of their differences. In this scene you will also find how quick and unhesitant Sam and Patrick are to welcome Charlie into their circle of misfits.
“I dare you to kiss the prettiest girl in the room on the lips. And notice I charitably said girl and not person because let’s face it, I’d smoke all you bitches.”
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the perfect feel good film that will win the hearts of fans of this contemporary genre. I therefore highly recommend that you watch this dazzling and graceful film to fully appreciate the wonderful story line and warm feeling these characters will give you.