Based on the award winning book by Stephen Chbosky (incidentally the screenwriter and director for The Perks of Being A Wallflower) this coming of age tale tells the story of Charlie (Logan Lerman), a mentally unstable yet kind Freshman who documents his life through letters addressed to a nameless ‘friend’ as he is woven in to a Pittsburgh social life that he has never known and is trying to understand. He is joined by his best friends Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), social butterflies who seem just as lost as Charlie when they take him on as their equal.
The Perks of Being A Wallflower is almost word to word identical to the infamous book, which makes this a perfect choice for lovers of Chbosky’s work. There is no weaving in and out of the story, giving each scene the right amount of impact for viewers who are familiar with the story and those who aren’t. Fans of the book are able to relive their favourite quotes and pages as no stone is left unturned, rather than an adaptation of the 1999 novel, Perks feels more like the pages have been transformed in to a beautiful, charming broadcast.
Stephen Chbosky’s direction suits the story perfectly, whilst the script and presentation can come across as a little clumsy in some scenes, this actually adds to the feel of the audience becoming the extra teenager in the room. The throwback in to the early 1990s is charming and well thought out with the use of popular music in a nostalgic soundtrack really pulls the audience in to the life of the characters. Visually, Perks is an attractive mix of lighting and camera techniques that show a range of emotions, from Charlie’s state as he is repeatedly bullied to Charlie’s first try of hallucinogenic drugs, the cinematography is excellently chosen and perfectly executed.
Logan Lerman’s delivery and actions are unquestionably accurate of a young boy with Charlie’s mental state, Lerman’s emotive presentation of the character is both touching and sometimes disturbing. Similarly, Ezra Miller’s ability to switch from a fun-loving joker to a deeply wounded tragedian is outstanding. He encapsulates the confusing emotions of teenage life throughout the role. Finally, Emma Watson steps right out of her comfort zone and through a performance that is able to make the audience forget that the face in front of them is the face of Hermione Granger, proving she’s not just a one trick pony.
The only problem with Perks is that there is too much play on Charlie and Sam’s romantic relationship which may nark some lovers of the novel. Having said that, their relationship doesn’t take away from the story at all, this is most definitely not a love story, rather a psychological unravelling with a side order of romance.
The Perks of Being A Wallflower is two hours of pure emotion and a beautiful, honest adaptation of a brutally honest and raw story that is relatable regardless of upbringing. Expect to laugh, cry and feel shocked throughout Perks as its initial comedic appearance delves deeper in to teenage, coming of age life.