By: Mike Davis
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a film directed and adapted by Stephen Chbosky from his own critically acclaimed 1999 coming of age novel. The novel offers a unique perspective, told in a series of letters from an anonymous teenager who goes by the pseudonym of Charlie, to an anonymous person he doesn’t know. This offers a very raw, personal feel, that’s able to be both first person and present tense. While this personal storytelling perspective is lost when being translated to the medium of film, almost all the emotion and honesty that made the book so haunting and relatable remains here. This is the best and most true adaptation one would hope for, from the mind of Chbosky himself.
On his first day of high school, Charlie, (played here by Logan Lerman), is frightened and lonely, having lost his best friend to suicide the year before. He is welcomed in by a pair of friendly-yet-quirky step-siblings, Patrick & Sam (Played by Ezra Miller & Emma Watson). He is then introduced to many adult themes, such as sex, drugs, relationships, friendship, homosexuality, and drama. Through their great friendship, Charlie grows, and has many self-realizations and important life lessons.
Some of the novel’s themes, such as sexuality, rape, smoking, and drug use, are toned down here for a PG-13 audience, although they are still there (such as an important sequence where Charlie has a bad reaction to LSD at a New Years party). Certain storylines and subplots have been omitted to help the film’s rhythm and flow, such as one storyline about Charlie witnessing a rape, and another about abortion. In the end, the final product retains all of the overall emotions perfectly. Both fans of the book and new viewers will enjoy this wonderfully nostalgic coming of age film.
3 ½ Stars.