Browse Josh's Portfolio and the Comic, Reviews or Blog archive.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

From the DVD Shelf: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

November 8th, 2013

I am endlessly fascinated by coming-of-age stories, and I don’t think I’m alone.  I adore this sub-genre of movies, and when done right, I find these sorts of movies to be emotionally gripping.  I have seen a number of great coming-of-age films recently, as it happens, including The Spectacular Now (click here for my review), which I just wrote about earlier this week, and this past summer’s superlative The Way Way Back (click here for my review).  I missed The Perks of Being a Wallflower last year when it was released, but it’s been at the top of my radar and, now that I have seen it, I can easily say that it easily shoots up towards the top of my list of some of the best coming-of-that movies that I have ever seen.

I found The Perks of Being a Wallflower to be deeply moving, profound and powerful.  I loved it.

The film chronicles the tumultuous freshman year of high school of Charlie (Logan Lerman).  Charlie is a sweet, bright, quiet kid.  Something tragic has happened to him the previous year — at first we don’t know what — but Charlie is trying his best to be happy and to fit in.  Sadly, he enters his freshman year of high school with apparently no friends, and in the early scenes of the film we can feel his profound loneliness.  But then, after an almost chance encounter, Charlie finds himself practically adopted by two seniors — step-siblings Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson).  At first these two have no idea the effect that their simple act of kindness has on Charlie, but as they get to know him they quickly grow to love their bright, clever, sensitive young new friend.  Charlie, meanwhile, is transformed by his friendship with Patrick and Sam and finds, in their small group of off-beat friends, a circle of people with whom he feels he belongs, something it seems that he has never before experienced.  The road towards the end of the school year is not easy for Charlie or Patrick or Sam, but each winds up affecting the other in often-surprising, deeply powerful ways.

The film is based on the 1999 novel by Stephen Chbosky, and incredibly Mr. Chbosky has not only written the film adaptation, he directed it too.  I can’t believe this film is the work of a first-time filmmaker.  It is incredibly well-made, not just gorgeous to look at, but what an actors’ showcase.  Mr. Chbosky has assembled a remarkable young cast, and he has drawn incredibly wonderful performances from each and every one of them.

All three of the main actors are just staggeringly great, an … [continued]