The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Review No. 412


The Bottom Line: It will leave you absolutely speechless.

Directed by: Stephen Chbosky
Screenplay by: Stephen Chbosky
Based on: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
Charlie Kelmeckis: Logan Lerman
Sam: Emma Watson
Patrick: Ezra Miller
Also Starring: Dylan McDermott, Joan Cusack, Johnny Simmons, Kate Walsh, Mae Whitman, Melanie Lynskey, Nicholas Braun, Nina Dobrev, Paul Rudd, Reece Thompson, Tom Savini, Zane Holtz

Distributed by Summit Entertainment on September 21, 2012. Produced in English by the United States. Runs 102 mins. Rated PG-13 on appeal by the MPAA for mature thematic material, drug and alcohol use, sexual content including references, and a fight – all involving teens.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower was watched on February 6, 2013.

“Right now we are alive and in this moment I swear we are infinite.” –Charlie (Logan Lerman)

As I try and spill my thoughts on The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I feel like Leonardo da Vinci painting the “Mona Lisa”. Of course I can’t make a simple movie review nearly as beautiful, but if I were Stephen Chbosky, who knows what could happen. Chbosky wrote the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower about a decade and a half ago. I have not read the book yet, but at the moment, there is no entry higher on my reading list. Last year, the book made it to the screen. Not since John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club (that was 1985, mind you) has the silver screen presented such an honest, true, edgy, and unforgettable movie for the ages.

Could you believe the one in the middle is the title character?

Chbosky is a versatile legend-in-progress. He directed Perks from a screenplay he wrote, based on the novel he had already published. Almost as soon as the film opens up, it has our attention, our emotions. Our protagonist is a high school freshman named Charlie Kelmeckis. But for the first few minutes, all we know is that he’s just a generic high school freshman. We’re brought to enjoy his character immensely by standing in the shoes of someone from his own school.

Charlie is the “Wallflower,” the introvert who knows the ways of an extrovert, only because his pores have absorbed so much by watching closely. The hero has never been to a party. During his very first one, two upperclassmen find everything in him that he didn’t see in himself. Charlie is now an inductee into a lifestyle filled with sex, drugs, freedom, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and “The Tunnel Song” (that’s “Heroes” by David Bowie). He doesn’t love it; he feels “infinite.” The question is, will Charlie remain “infinite,” forever?

Perks offers nothing typical or expected in any way, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s perfection. What is most enthralling about the story is how we can so authentically feel like the characters. This is a “through the eyes” story, but expressed through many pairs of eyes. Everything Charlie feels in the beginning, and everything any of his friends see in him, is immersed into the soul of anyone watching. Unless you were born without a heart, there isn’t a chance I could suppress this film a recommendation. Beauty, like energy, cannot be destroyed. Unlike energy, it can perhaps be created. If you aren’t quite convinced, please devote some time to The Perks of Being a Wallflower.



Best Screenplay


16 thoughts on “The Perks of Being a Wallflower

  1. My favorite film of 2012. I could really identify with the characters. I wanted them to be MY best friends! Loved it. Book is also excellent but it’s one of those rare occasions where I think I actually enjoyed the movie even more. Of course, Bowie helps… 🙂

    • Yesterday, a lifelong friend noted that he’d read my review and that I’d piqued his interest. He usually reads the book before the movie, and considering I’m still in the middle of reading “The Exorcist”, he may get the chance to read it before me and return the favor for me. 😉

  2. There’s no doubt , one of the greatest teen film since the era of John Hughes, i was utterly skeptical when this was on theaters, i thought another money making machine adaptation from Meyer, but Chbosky proves me wrong, this film is one of my favorites of 2012, it so sad , not enough love for this film even a single nomination for Adapted Screenplay at Oscars. great review 🙂

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