“Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a modern classic that captures the dizzying highs and crushing lows of growing up. Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a moving tale of love, loss, fear and hope-and the unforgettable friends that help us through life.”
No expectations. That’s very important when watching movies adapted from books. But I’m not always successful with, even, lowering expectations. Especially with books I really liked. And I failed once again while watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower. But you know? It didn’t matter.
Adaptations have a tendency to cram everything loved from a book into the film version. This movie doesn’t do that. Maybe it’s because the person who wrote and directed the movie was also the person who wrote the book. He knew what needed to be in the film. And he knew what it could do without.
Whatever reservations I had for the book didn’t materialize while watching the film adaptation. Unlike the novel, the movie didn’t feel like it was just another coming-of-age film. From the moment it opens, you could feel its identity.
And that’s another thing I liked about the book that I forgot to mention. While it felt run-of-the-mill at first, it quickly established its own identity.
Which then translated really well on screen.
Again, maybe it’s because it’s not a direct adaptation. Maybe it’s because the author was also the creative mind and hand behind the movie.
At the end of the day though, it doesn’t matter what may be the reason. What’s important is that the movie works.
I’m not a fan of Logan Lerman. Mostly because I didn’t really like the film adaptation of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, and he’s front and center in that film. But in The Perks of Being a Wallflower though, Lerman plays a great lead.
I was afraid that Charlie’s problem of being too emotional would look weird once it’s off the pages. But Lerman plays the role with a quiet intensity that the crying does feel very natural. It’s not cinematic at all.
And the innocence he carries with him is so palpable that you really do believe that Charlie, even with his good looks, can be an outcast in their school.
The only problem I had with his acting was when he was kissing Emma Watson. Jealousy at him being able to kiss Emma Watson aside, he has a tendency to drop the innocence of Charlie whenever he kisses his leading lady. Or even the girl who plays his girlfriend. Thing is, if it had been just Sam (Emma Watson’s character) who he kisses without innocence, I think I would’ve let it go. It fits with the character anyway. But it’s not a one-off thing. And it really doesn’t fit the character he builds throughout the movie.
Emma Watson and Ezra Miller also shine in the movie. But I feel that, because the movie had to focus more on Charlie’s life, their characterization and arcs had to be sacrificed. Which, I feel, shafted the actors who were brilliant. But, for the sake of the movie, it was a wise decision. The film was much more focused than the book because of it.
The one actress who really does get shafted is Nina Dobrev. Her character is the one I really rooted for, while reading the book. She was the one who really had to go through sufferings to learn and become a better person. Which, seeing as the movie narrowed its focus on just Charlie, had to be cut out. And I understand. The movie is all the better for it.
But I still can’t help but feel sad that it had to be cut out.
What didn’t get cut out though, and which I really enjoyed, was The Rocky Horror Picture Show sequences. In the book, it had a much bigger significance, as it symbolized Charlie’s growing emotions. I’m not sure what it added to the movie though, aside from the eye-candy. And seeing people’s surprised reaction at the shot of Susan Sarandon singing “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me.”
Overall, I say the film is perfect. Even more so than the book. And this is the first time I’m saying this since The Lord of the Rings got translated into the big screen.
And it doesn’t matter if you’ve read the book or not. The movie doesn’t disappoint. I urge you to watch it.