‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated September 26th, 2014 at 3:56 am,

Perks of Being A Wallflower Logan Lerman Emma Watson The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

Author Stephen Chbosky published his first novel, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” back in 1999 and, since that time, wrote the screenplay for the 2005 film adaption of Rent as well as co-created the fan-favorite series, Jericho. Now Chbosky is back with a Perks of Being a Wallflower film but, after adapting his breakout book for the big screen, this time he’s also sitting in the director’s chair.

Wallflower is Chbosky’s second film – after his 1995 indie comedy effort, The Four Corners of Nowhere. Seventeen years later, the director is aided in his efforts by a talented batch of young actors that should be familiar to most entertainment fans: Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson & the Olympians), Emma Watson (Harry Potter), Mae Whitman (Arrested Development), Nina Dobrev (Vampire Diaries), and Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk about Kevin). Do the combined efforts of the cast and author/screenwriter/director result in an engaging sophomore film – and a worthwhile adaptation of the captivating Perks of Being a Wallflower source material?

Fortunately, Chbosky delivers. The Perks of Being a Wallflower successfully balances touching drama, charming performances, and a challenging storyline with a proficiency that will likely surprise viewers who are less familiar with director. While the novel isn’t required reading for enjoying film version, anyone who has read the book knows that Chbosky had his work cut out for him – and Perks of Being a Wallflower will, no doubt, have many moviegoers eagerly anticipating the director’s next project.

Perks of Being A Wallflower Erin Wilhelmi Logan Lerman Mae Whitman The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

Erin Wilhelmi, Logan Lerman, and Mae Whitman in ‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower’

The Perks of Being a Wallflower marketing positions the film as a typical (albeit eccentric) indie dramedy but the actual plot points of the narrative are significantly heavier than most “coming of age” tales. Out the gate, audiences are introduced to Charlie (Logan Lerman), who chronicles his life experiences by writing letters to an unnamed “reader.” The story picks up right before Charlie’s first day in High School where, following the loss of his best friend and a tumultuous eighth grade year punctuated by unexplained blackouts, the freshman attempts to make new acquaintances in order to survive the next four years. After a series of rejections, and a little perseverance, Charlie is discovered by the “island of misfit toys,” a group of eccentric seniors led by Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson), who help the their young friend learn to feel “infinite.”

Similar films tackle uncomfortable plot threads but The Perks of Being a Wallflower successfully juggles a number of taboo topics – relying heavily on subtlety in its adherence to PG-13 rating restrictions. This isn’t to say that the movie is dark and depressing because it’s actually a very uplifting and fun theater experience; however, filmgoers who aren’t prepared for a challenging time at the movies might be a little blindsided by certain elements of the plot. Similarly, a few narrative points aren’t handled as proficiently as others but Chbosky strikes a smart balance – offering some of the most likable, and downright “honest,” characters that audiences will see in 2012. Chbosky establishes a smart juxtaposition early on, depicting his nameless high school bullies as standard teenage tropes (vicious jocks, etc) – allowing his core characters plenty of standout moments that are unmatched in truthfulness and originality.

Lerman leads the production as Charlie – reminding audiences that, despite mixed reactions to his headlining work in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief as well as Gamer, the young actor is still capable of subtle dramatic work. Even though Charlie is an exceptionally guarded and introverted character, Lerman’s thoughtful depiction helps ground the film – locking viewers tight behind the character’s reluctance while also allowing for glimmers of his underlying eagerness (not to mention larger troubles).

Perks of Being A Wallflower Logan Lerman Ezra Miller Emma Watson The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, and Emma Watson in ‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower’

Ezra Miller’s Patrick serves as a smart counterbalance for Charlie and, for many audience members, will easily be the standout performance of the film. Miller brings an infectious energy to Patrick and it’s easy to see why so many of the movie’s characters look to him as the patriarch of their group. That said, along with all of his over-the-top moments of levity, Patrick also has one of the most insightful and demanding story arcs. Thankfully, Miller is up to the task – delivering several commanding Perks of Being a Wallflower scenes.

Many moviegoers will check out Perks of Being a Wallflower to see how Harry Potter-alum Emma Watson is adjusting to a post-Hogwarts career. Watson was seen briefly in My Week with Marilyn but Chbosky’s film puts the household name front and center again – and she doesn’t miss a beat. Successfully hiding her British accent, Watson handles a number of difficult scenes (including a Rocky Horror Picture Show burlesque performance) and manages to present Sam without causing flashbacks to her days as Hermione Granger.

Certain elements of The Perks of Being a Wallflower plot aren’t handled as adeptly as others but the film is full of exceptional performances and enchanting character moments. The movie is unrelenting in its exploration of troubled teenagers as well as counter-cultural angst and it might be too much for some moviegoers to handle. However, viewers who invest in Chbosky’s film will be rewarded with a “coming of age” story that, because of its commitment to the ugly side of truth, is rife with honesty and captivating drama.

If you’re still on the fence about The Perks of Being a Wallflower, check out the trailer below:

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Let us know what you thought of the film in the comment section below.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future reviews, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is Rated PG-13 on appeal for mature thematic material, drug and alcohol use, sexual content including references, and a fight – all involving teens. Now playing in limited theaters. Opening for wide release on October 5th.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5
(Excellent)

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25 Comments

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  1. Emma ia just seriously to hot.

    • Obviously~ Snape

      Haha, but anyways I really want to see this but my theater isnt getting it, I think so boooo!! I will see it one way or another.

      • Hi, I’m Stephen Chbosky’s assistant, Meera. Our team is going around to all the different sites to let everyone know that The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie is being released all over the USA this Friday October 12th! You can visit our Facebook page or website to find out which theaters.

        Thank you so much for the support. We hope you love the movie as much as we do!

        • Hey Meera! My theater finally got it anddddd I loved it! It is one of this years best movies and I will be owning it! I think more people need to go out and see it. :)

      • Don’t bother watching it. Save your money. One of the worst movies I ever turned off. I was very disappointed. Epic fail.

  2. I’ve been saying Logan lerman has more talent than his movies show..

    • So true. People give him too much crap because of Percy. I really liked that film.

  3. Saw this movie, and loved it! Was really excited, cause two of my best friends from college are extras in the film. Don’t believe me? Well here’s the link: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm835039744/tt1659337

  4. Not a big fan of the premise, but I’ll rent it purely because of Emma Watson… I’m sure I’ll end up liking the movie as well, but yah, I’ll watch anything that stars Emma Watson :D

  5. Logan Lerman looks a little like a young Paul Rudd. And they are both Jewish. Too bad Rudd is not playing Lerman’s father in this film.

  6. Agh. I can’t wait for wide release.

    • Hey, this is Meera, Stephen Chbosky’s assistant. Just wanted to share that the movie comes out nationwide on Friday, Oct. 12th, and you can check out the Facebook page or website for showtimes/theaters near you :)

  7. I don’t know, I think Logan Lerman could grow up to be really big in Hollywood. I think he’s a really good actor. I liked him in 3:10 To Yuma.

  8. Check out the opinions of two hip old-school Hollywood veterans
    they have some interesting things to say about Perks of Being a Wallflower

  9. I belong to a bookclub and we had read this book a while back. A few of us saw it last night. I think the performances were very good and the story was well told. Logan Lerman was great as Charlies and I was glad to see Emma move past Hermione (although I loved her in HP). I am not familiar with Ezra Miller but his portrayal of Patrick was very well done. We all loved the movie!

  10. Wallflower is the best movie I have seen in years and scores
    an A+ on so many levels. The casting was perfect, the writing
    superb and the touching scenes make you cry. What more could
    you ask from a movie? As somewhat of a wallflower myself, I
    could relate to this tale.

  11. Wallflower is THEE WORST movie I have ever seen in my life! Talk about depressing.

  12. Please save your money and stay away from this pathetic movie. It was so bad that I asked the theater for my money back! It is lame, insipid and devoid of any wit or creativity. I kept waiting for some change in the script; something that made the movie even mildly interesting, but, alas, it never came and I left before I my head exploded. Really, really bad movie. I don’t understand how anyone could see this movie and say that it is anything but rubbish. Hollywood should be held on criminal charges for putting out this sorry, sorry movie!

    • I couldn’t agree more. I couldn’t get past the 1st 30 minutes.

    • The movie must have lacked enough explosions and car chases for your tastes. Too bad.. if you have any appreciation for the human perspective and psyche you would have gotten something important from this movie… mainly that everyone suffers in their own way, and everyone finds counterbalance to that through interpersonal understanding and interaction. Saying that this movie is nothing but rubbish speaks a lot to what type of entertainment you’re looking for, and possibly what type of person you are in general.

    • what part of the movie you didnt like most?

  13. Most awesome movie of 2012 for me. Embarrassing to admit but I was crying during and after watching this film. So moving and profoundly honest.

  14. I agree that this movie was horrible. I rented it at redbox and took it back the same day, hoping not to get charged. I couldn’t get past the first 30 minutes or so. The acting was was so bad and the timing so off I didn’t believe anything about it. I’ve seen better really bad plays at my local theatre. I don’t get how any critic could have enjoyed it if they were being honest. I just don’t get it.

    • Why are you so passionate about your hate for this film, that you feel compelled to comment 3 times about it on an obscure review site? We get it, you didn’t understand the theme and message, got frustrated with what I can only assume you perceived to be a lack of pace, and gave up trying to comprehend human emotion and interaction. we all lament your loss of $1 to redbox… I’m just not quite sure how you’ll ever get that 30 minutes back.

  15. I sometimes find myself feeling slightly depressed myself, I could relate to the story because it showed, and proved how grand and how vast the world feels when you have friends that care and are willing to help you get through things. It also very slightly shows the pain and loneliness the same world can and could be. The film within itself is very insightful and in retrospect also helpful. The acting was superb with Lerman proving that he can hold his own as a titular role, and Emma Watson proves that she can also act in a drama as opposed to her lighter roles. However the true star of this film is Ezra Miller, his portrayal as Patrick was unreal, it was really well acted. All around I found this movie to have a sense of humanity and humility in a topic that yes in a way is dark but yet a topic that is very much real in our teenage community. Great Movie. I truly recommend this film.

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