Movie Review: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”- A Rose of a Film

Written by Rachel Ganzewinkel October 10, 2012


The director and screenwriter of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, Stephen Chbosky, is also the author of the novel of the same name that was published way back in 1999. His novel became a gem over the years and is definitely one of the best Young Adult novels I, personally, have ever read. Chbosky stayed completely true to his novel all while keeping the movie at a tidy 103 minutes. His simple, heartfelt prose is used in monologues from his protagonist Charlie (Logan Lerman) and his biting, zippy dialogue between characters is delightful and authentic.

The Perks of Being a ’90’s Kid

Since the book was written and published in the 1990’s that is when the story takes place. Even if you didn’t know that going into the movie, the egregious use of overalls and headbands would definitely have been an indicator. Set in a time where people still talked on landlines and used typewriters or hand wrote essays, it makes the story more accessible to more people than if it were to take place post-millenium. The story just focuses on the characters without the interference of technology. These characters are introduced as teen angst stereotypes and, at first, you just want to tell them to suck it up and that high school is not the be-all and end-all. As the story progresses though you find out that they know that. They are just trying to deal with their very real and very relatable problems the best they can before they are able to move on to college.

The Wallflowers

Charlie (Logan Lerman), Patrick (played by the diverse Ezra Miller who played a sociopath in last years “We Need to Talk About Kevin”), and Sam (played by the always lovely Emma Watson) are the trio the movie mainly follows. Each are misfits in their own right and embrace it as a way to deal with why they have been alienated from the “popular” crowd. I put “popular” in quotations because in this movie it seems to make these outcasts as the real cool kids who are mature enough to accept who they are. Charlie is the protagonist and narrator and who we follow on a heartbreaking journey through depression. He enters high school as a freshman alone until he tries to break out of his shell. He befriends Patrick and Sam who alter his life in ways he never saw possible and help him see the world as it is- one where everyone has issues to deal with and how your success in life depends on how you deal with them.

 So Much More Than YA

This story may sound like glorified teen angst with its theme on how everyone is screwed up, but it transcends teenage-dom so supremely it can barely be classified as something just for Young Adults. The issues these characters have to deal with, from sexuality to mental illness, are all so relatable that a person of any age can read it and see a little piece of their own struggles in it.

Charlie has a secret that keeps him from healing, a secret that cripples his life as he finds it so embarrassing and is horribly guilt-ridden from it all. This is unfortunately something many can relate to. Issues that are difficult to talk about are often bottled inside and the negative effects of doing so are portrayed in an authentic way that holds nothing back. I also love how this movie (and the book of course) endorse the fact that seeking help and talking to professionals or friends is important and not at all useless or cowardly.

“We Can Be Heroes”

The final message told through monologue by a much changed Charlie is inspiring and tear-jerking. The fact that it is important to put yourself out there, experience all there is to experience, love who you are and who you are with, that the moment you are living is important and special because you are living it- those are all inspiring and life changing messages that are explicitly and implicitly conveyed through the very real characters you see onscreen. Those characters Chboksy created are heroes for all young adults and many others who are struggling with their own issues. It is a must-see for everyone who want to laugh, cry, and immerse yourself in a world that’s relatable and easy to love to hate. It is high school after all.

My Rating: 8.5/10


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About Rachel Ganzewinkel

Rachel loves movies and writing and has found the perfect amalgamation in writing movie reviews for We Eat Films. In between movie watching and the real-life world of work, she enjoys tea, reading, writing, and wearing over-size sweaters (while occassionally doing some of these simultaneously).

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