The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Review (Spoiler Free)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower PosterThe Perks of Being a Wallflower is warm, funny, and moving, but most of all it feels honest.

‘Honest’ is a term that seems to get casually thrown around quite a lot in reviews, and for that reason I don’t tend to use it often, but this tale of three friends navigating through high-school, as well as a whole load of other pretty dark problems, really deserves the term. Steven Chbosky’s script and direction feels very assured as he takes on the task of adapting his own novel. The balance of humour and emotion is well controlled here, as is the way in which characters develop and reveal themselves. It’s a pretty impressive effort, and is far removed from the cliché coming of age tale that the trailer had left me expecting.

The solid groundwork that Chbosky laid is bolstered by three great performances; Ezra Miller initially threatens to steal the spotlight – and deservedly so as he is really excellent here, but give Logan Lerman a little time and you will realise just how strong a performance he is giving, and Emma Watson comes to impress in what is without doubt her best work to date. With this trio it would be easy to forget about the supporting cast, but there’s nothing but good work going on here with Melanie Lynskey as Aunt Helen being a highlight.

There are a couple of small details which perhaps stretch credulity just a little, but picking up on them feels a little like nitpicking to be honest. There’s a lot to like about this film, and if like me you where holding back, fearing that this was just another American High School movie then I urge you to give it a go. I haven’t read the novel, and yet I never was made to feel that I needed to have in order to enjoy the film – it stands on it’s own feet and thoroughly delivers.

Summary:

What is the film’s greatest strength?
There’s a lot to pick from, but I think it has to be Logan Lerman’s excellent performance.

Its greatest weakness?
A few lines of cliché dialogue which thankfully are not representative of the film as a whole.

Would I see it again?
Most definitely, just play me the opening notes of Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ and I’m there!

Thanks for reading, leave your thoughts in the comment box below!

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24 comments

  1. This certainly was a gem of last year. So surprising too, given not only the cast, but the fact the author of the book wrote and directed it. Quite a debut. I’m glad you mention Lerman’s performance because the kid can definitely act. I want him to get his shit together and do more films like these. I feel bad he’s contractually obligated to the 9999 Percy Jackson movies.

    1. Lol. Quite a statement, Nick! Logan’s pretty good in this film. A perfect casting for the character too. I love the Whitman kid and Ezra Miller (I still call him “Kevin” though) and Emma “perfect puberty” Watson. 🙂

      Oh, and great review, as always, James!

      1. Haha, cheers buddy!
        I really, really have to see We Need to Talk About Kevin don’t I…

    2. I kept putting it off last year because I just expected it to be a predictable, typical coming of age tale – I have clearly been proven wrong now though!
      I would never have guessed that it was a relatively inexperienced director, he handled his material very well.
      I haven’t the Percy Jackson movies, I don’t have any desire to, but I would be 100% up for seeing Lerman in future films – he really impressed me here.

  2. I liked this film but I thought Emma Watson did her usual shtick of completely overacting. She only has one technique that involves frantic eyebrow movements.

    1. I know exactly what you are referring to but I liked her here. I thought this was a great leap in quality from her previous efforts.

  3. Very nice review my friend. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this picture yet I’ve still never seen it. For some reason it just doesn’t seem like something that would appeal to me. Yet, with so many positive takes on it I just might be wrong about that.

    1. Cheers Keith!
      I wasn’t at all convinced that it would be for me either but it turned out that I was completely wrong! I can’t promise anything, but perhaps you should give it a try – it would be good to hear your take on it either way.

  4. Nice review Rumsey. Made me laugh, made me cry, and made me long for the golden days of high school. As you can tell, it was one of my favorites from last year, and with good reason.

    1. Thanks! I’m glad that you also liked this one, it’s pretty special isn’t it?
      I don’t remember too many golden days of high school myself though!

  5. Lovely film that was dreadfully overlooked. Coming of age flicks can be so tedious and dull; but this one had a spark of originality about it.

    http://www.citizenmovies.wordpress.com

    1. It was somewhat overlooked wasn’t it. I think that’s because a lot of people made the mistake that I made in thinking this was going to be a very by the books take on the coming of age story.

  6. Excellent review, I really need to see this as I missed this one in cinema.

    1. Yes, do see it! My opinion of it has only risen since I wrote this review, it’s a surprising little film that looks far duller than it actually is.
      Cheers!

  7. Nice review James! I haven’t seen this one yet but I should check it out soon. Very impressed by Chbosky who wrote the book, the screenplay AND also directed the movie! Wow, that’s rare, and even more rare that someone could pull it off well!

    1. Thanks Ruth! You should, it was a real surprise for me!
      I know, that’s a pretty talented man who can handle all three forms. I haven’t read the book so I don’t know how faithful an adaptation the movie is, but it certainly works as a stand alone piece.

  8. Great review! I absolutely LOVE this film. Went to it not knowing what it expect and it ended up my favorite film of 2012 & pretty sure also an all-time favorite now. Actually read the book afterwards (rarely do it that way around). You don’t need to – most faithful adaptation EVER (wish the authors could always make the movies as well).

    1. Thank you! I can easily see why it was your favourite of 2012, I wish I had seen it sooner. I really liked it a lot when I wrote this review, but I feel even more strongly about it now.
      That’s interesting, I’m somewhat tempted to read the book now though to see just how close an adaptation it was!

      1. You could check it out if you have time – I’d say the main thing is that you find out a little more about his family, like his sister. His family weren’t in the movie much. I’d have to say it’s one of those very rare occasions where I think I liked the movie better. Bowie helped. 🙂

        1. Oh really?! That’s interesting that you prefer the film, and yes Bowie is bound to help!
          I think I may know what you’re referring to, there’s a deleted scene where Charlie helps his sister through a very tough ordeal…?

          1. You know I’ve had the DVD for ages but not watched deleted scenes?? Yes – that was a fairly big storyline in the book that got left out of the film but I’m glad they focused more on his friendships instead. The sister is also far less likeable in the book.

          2. Without having read the book, I think I’m glad that they cut out that storyline. It would have felt somewhat removed from everything else that goes on with the group of friends.

  9. This is a great film, and one of the few where I actually liked Logan Lerman’s acting.

    1. It most certainly is! I haven’t seen him in anything else, but he comes across as pretty promising here.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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