The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

2012 PG-13 102 Minutes

Drama | Romance

A coming-of-age story based on the best-selling novel by Stephen Chbosky, which follows 15-year-old freshman Charlie, an endearing and naive outsider who is taken under the wings of two seniors. A...

Overall Rating

8 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • WHAT I LIKED: 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower,' is a beautiful coming-of-age story about a young outsider Charlie (Logan Lerman) with mental health problems, and the ups and downs of his intense friendships. When we meet him he's a lonely soul, terrified by school and clearly harbouring trauma. But when he meets the quirky and eccentric group of outsiders Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller) he's intoxicated by their love, and the story ultimately becomes primarily about their relationships.

    'The Perks of Being a Wallflower,' then, deals with the same kind of themes as all great coming-of-age movies, but what makes it so moving and engaging is how grounded and yet equally whimsical its execution of Charlie's experiences are. The way the characters interact feels so natural and not remotely forced, the tests they're put through all feel like organic parts of their character arcs, and yet both the wonder and anxiety experienced by Charlie is translated brilliantly by the slightest whiff melodrama that runs through the whole thing. This is all because on the one hand the performances are so great, but also because writer/director Stephen Chbosky (who also interestingly wrote the source material) leaves his script and camera to linger just the right amount on each moment of sadness or elation from the characters in a way that's nuanced and often purely visual, but also far from naturalistic due to the nature of the performances and the editing. There are lots of mid-shots which elevate the physicality of the performances, the cuts are dynamic and don't always enter or leave scenes where you'd expect, and the use of pop music in the soundtrack elevates the emotion further. Heck, any film with this much Smiths in is bound to win over my heart, but ultimately it's the characters that you fall in love with, and that's down to that perfect writing and direction, and the dynamic performances.

    WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: It's not breaking into new thematic territory, but it is most definitely one of the best examples of this kind of film.

    VERDICT: A touching coming-of-age character story with just the right amount of melodrama and naturalism, Stephen Chbosky's 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower,' will have you crying or smiling throughout.