Director: Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd, Dylan McDermott.
Written by: Stephen Chbosky (based on his book)
Running Time: 103 mins
Release date: 3rd October 2012
Either I have a soft, squiggy side underneath this cynical, critical shell or The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a film that is almost impossible not to like. No, like is too nondescript word to use for such a wonderfully uplifting, charming film. Love! That’s better.
Charlie is an introvert intellect starting his first year in high school. He is the easy target of bullies, both from his own classes as well as the seniors. He sits alone at lunch, even being shunned by his own elder sister and the only friend he makes on his first day, is his English teacher. Then he meets Patrick, a practical joker who Charlie warms to. Along with Patrick’s step sister, Sam, Charlie is introduced to their world of cool music, laid-back friends and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Charlie, though, has a few problems, his past and that he is falling for the much older Sam.
The film is being sold as Emma Watson’s first outing since Harry Potter finished but let me assure you, while she plays an important part to this delight, there is so much more on offer that if you are going just because of her, you are in for treats galore. This is a charmer from start to finish. Writer director Stephen Chbosky has adapted his popular book and given us a gem on a plate, littered with characters you could quite happily spend your life with, let alone a few hours.
He has cleverly taken the stereotype American high school kids (the loner, the geek, the joker, the princess, the jock…Breakfast Club, anyone?) and turned them on their heads. He has done something that many films like this have failed to do…make them human.
Logan Lerman, who played Percy Jackson and D’Artagnan in the recent Three Musketeers, is magnificent as Charlie. This is a pitch perfect performance, full of warmth and surprises while carrying a dark side that manifests itself in the final act. And he makes Charlie such a sympathetic character that you can’t help but like him. Ezma Miller almost steals the film as the jokey Patrick, with his huge personality and his wicked sense of humour. And yet where others would make him annoying, Miller has the good sense to rein it in just at the right times.
So what about Ms Watson, I hear you ask? I can gladly say that she passes the test and gone is the sometimes precocious Hermione and we have a very good young actress with a faultless American accent. She sparkles here and so good is she, you completely forget she’s Emma Watson.
In fact there is nothing I can really criticize this film. The soundtrack is glorious, full of cool and very cool tunes and it even manages to make Dexy’s Midnight Runners Come On Eileen fashionable again. It zips along at a perfect pace, mixing some very funny moments with some incredibly touching moments. There’s even a shocking twist at the end that doesn’t dismantle what has happened before.
Rarely this year have I seen a film that has got under my skin like this has. It made me smile throughout and I even came out with a grin on my face and those who know me, will know that’s something that doesn’t happen much.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is very reminiscent of the John Hughes films of the 80s. If you can remember those, and you loved them, then run to see this. It will put you in a good mood for the rest of the day. An absolute joy and I loved it.