Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Film #82


An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.

Year 1, Day 81

BEFORE: Apparently the theme of the week has been teen films as tonight’s film falls under the teen drama category. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is yet another advanced screening. This film is based on a popular book by author Stephen Chbosky and stars Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Ezra Miller.

AFTER: I’m finding this film to be very hard to write about. An hour has elapsed and I’m still sitting here in front of my laptop, struggling with a way to start describing this film. In a way, I think that’s very fitting. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a very complex story that has all these different elements working together.

There are moments that are pure happiness where the whole audience was laughing together. Next thing you know, everyone is silent because things turn very depressing, very fast. This dichotomy between joy and misery is present throughout the entire film. From scene to scene and even from beginning to end, you are taken on a big emotional roller coaster.

And it’s no wonder when you look at the material the novel and the film cover: drugs, homosexuality, sex, and suicide just to name a few. These are not lighthearted topics of discussion and as a result, neither is the film. If you come out of this film without having reacted to it in some shape or form, there is something wrong with you.

One of the reasons The Perks of Being a Wallflower is so dramatic is the writing. Stephen Chbosky wrote both the novel and the screenplay, and he also directed the film as well. I haven’t read the book but I have to assume the adaptation gets the stamp of approval since the author made it himself. The whole film, I was struck by how realistic the story and the dialogue seemed. I couldn’t help but think this was an autobiographical story of Chbosky’s life because the detail put into every aspect seems too complicated to make up. And yet, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is fiction, which is just a testament to Chbosky’s creative skills as a storyteller.

The other reason the film is so dramatic is the acting. Across the board, all the actors really brought the characters to life and portrayed the many nuances and idiosyncrasies that makes each character unique. Logan Lerman does a great job as Charlie, the wallflower mentioned in the title. Just like Pitch Perfect on Monday, Charlie was yet another character I could closely relate to: the shy introvert who rarely speaks up in class but is surprisingly vocal outside of school. That is, I did relate to him for about ten minutes before the big shoe drops and it’s revealed this kid is extremely depressed and is on medication to help. Emma Watson also did a fantastic job and proved that she will continue to have a career now that Harry Potter is over. Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd, Mae Whitman, and the rest of the cast should also be commended for their great work.

Now I feel it’s time to clarify what exactly I consider to be a 5-star film. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was very enjoyable, but despite all the pros, was not perfect. The reason I’m giving it 5-stars, and the reason I gave other films 5-stars, is because the film was an experience. The film created a place where I could escape to and get lost in for about two hours. I’m left with such a feeling so powerful, that I overlook slight flaws because overall, it’s storytelling at its finest. And that’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower in a nutshell; a great example of storytelling.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower opens in theaters this Friday, September 21.

RATING: 5 out of 5