Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012)

Now what is expected in a coming-of-age drama about high school, is a social outcast finding their feet in their high school time, relationships and dramas. The Perks of Being A Wallflower is no different as it stars Charlie finding his feet in high school. Charlie (Logan Lerman) is writing to a unknown person detailing the fact he starting high school for the first time and that he has not long been out of hospital. Which of course outlines the character we’re dealing with. He also mentions that bar his family he hasn’t spoken to anyone this summer, pretty much labeling Charlie as a social introvert or outcast.

This idea is shown as Charlie tries to find somewhere to sit during his lunch break, to where he is rejected by people he has known and even his sister, leaving him to sit alone. The next scene, we meet one of the trio of main characters, Patrick. He is a senior unfortunate enough to be taking a freshman shop class, and of course, he plays the class clown type character.

Charlie and Patrick's Clocks In Their Workshop Class.
Charlie and Patrick’s Clocks In Their Workshop Class.

The third and final member of the trio, is Sam (Emma Watson) who plays Patricks stepsister, and she is met at the high school football game, where Charlie is invited to sit next to them. The group discover they have a lot in common, mainly in musical taste and we see Charlie, the introvert, become less of an introvert. Beforehand, we had seen Charlie be alone at lunchtimes and being bullied around school, now he has settled with a group of friends and is doing extra assignments for English for his teacher Mr Anderson, without the hassle from his classmates.

Mr Anderson (Paul Rudd) plays the role of the teacher who everyone got on the most with at school (there was always that one teacher, don’t lie to yourselves). He offers him extra assignments in reading as he sees potential in Charlie and hands him various books. This coincides with his ambition to become a writer which is referenced throughout the film.

“Call it the Slut and the Falcon. Make us solve crimes!”

Relationships become an integral part of this film, because ultimately, this is the rest of the film. With the friendship group which now involves Mary Elizabeth and Alice, relationships evolve and dissolve throughout the film, but maintains Charlie’s interest in Sam throughout the film and whether or not that comes into fruition. Ultimately Charlie, as mentioned before, has been in and out of hospital for an unknown reason, with this new group is feeling better and rarely feeling “bad”, as he mentions in his letters. This is too the point where he enjoys his comrades, and states “we are infinite” when they discover the tunnel song (Heroes by David Bowie) and their continuous quest to find this song.

Majority of the coming of age high school films would see the protagonist getting what there are after and surviving high school, however, Perks of Being A Wallflower is completely different. The ending is unexpected I felt, and of course, I won’t spoil the ending because I enjoyed it and felt it different which was a nice surprise. But generally speaking this film is really enjoyable on a whole, and it all feels very joyful for the nostalgic feel in the experiences that the group go through.

Of course, this being a film in the 1990s, this film might appeal more to those born in the 1980s, as the music choices, the rebellious nature and the infatuation with the Rocky Horror Picture Show on the stage. But not only this, generally there is an appeal to all youth, with the parties and the beginning of and breaking down of relationships. It’s a true coming of age story as Charlie does find himself, not without consequences though as his choices in certain areas are the wrong ones, which causes issues in the friendship group.

What I did enjoy about this film, is off-production, is that the writer of the book, is actually the director of the film. Admittedly there is nothing stunning about the directing. For anyone that is reading this, is the book similar to the film? As I do have an issue of interpretations of books to films, but with the writer of the book directing, it could be different.


2 thoughts on “Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012)

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  1. As someone who’s read the book, I found that the film adaptation was pretty faithful, but was missing some of the ‘soul’ that the book had. Because the book is set firmly within Charlie’s mind, the part of the film where we find out exactly what happened to him was a very visceral and sickening experience. Whereas with the film, I’m not sure it was entirely clear what happened, or it didn’t seem to be dealt with the same weight as it was in the book. However, the film is absolutely loyal to the light parts of the book and does a good job at setting up the same feeling of solidarity and nostalgia. I’d highly recommend reading the book! It’s just a small-ish one, but it’s well worth the read. Great review!

    1. You’re totally right, as I knew something had been suppressed, but at the same time wasn’t sure what had triggered it. But I’m glad the book is loyal, but I’ve found soul is lost when they are set in the minds, are it’s harder to show through a different medium. Thanks for the comment, by the way!

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