Monday, October 8, 2012

The Perks of Being A Wallflower: A Movie Review and Discussion

SPOILER ALERT: This movie review WILL contain spoilers. Proceed with caution. Enjoy! (:

I debated for a while whether or not I wanted to review this film. Oftentimes, I don't feel like seeing a movie once ever gives me an accurate depiction of my final thoughts on said film. And when it comes to a film that is an adaption of a book, my mind is constantly wandering back and forth between how I imagined the scenes in the book, what is being portrayed on the screen, scenes that are being rushed or forgotten altogether, new scenes being added, etc. Nonetheless, I will try my best to give a decent review on my opinions of the film. If you want to know thoughts on the book, you can find that review here. Otherwise, lets get on with this review!

(photograph taken from The Perks of Being A Wallflower trailer)

The Perks of Being A Wallflower isn't your typical coming-of-age novel. Yes it has hormones, girls, parties, and drugs. But what I found truly unique to this book was Charlie, the protagonist. His condition and mental anxiety is one that many teens don't endure. And this was one of my primary concerns upon watching this film. I saw some clips of Charlie expressing signs of depression in the trailer, but the rest of it seemed like that typical high school story. It wasn't what I loved about this book, and it became my main concern about the film. 

So as I watched the film, I am happy to announce that it really delivered in that department. I was extremely happy with how much focus Charlie's subconcious got on screen. The flashbacks were a vital part of this.

Where I felt the movie was weak was where I expected it to be strong. It's difficult when reading a novel written as a series of letters/diary entries to understand any character except the writer, which in this case is Charlie. We never get to see Sam, Patrick, or even know Charlie's sister's name. We only get to hear what they've either said to Charlie or what he has overheard. And even that is in the grey realm of author trustworthiness. The film was where I wanted to see Sam and Patrick (particularly Sam) grow more. I wanted to see how they interacted because it was something I couldn't completely see objectively in the book. And my final opinion was that it could have used some work. In general, it could have just used more (which is sadly a reoccurring theme in film adaptions of books). Towards the end I didn't feel the connection between Sam and Charlie that I felt in the book. I didn't even really feel sad that they were all ready to graduate and leave Charlie on his own. I cared about Charlie. But I didn't fancy any of the relationships.

One of the most well done scenes in the movie to me were the ones after Patrick and Brad have stopped seeing one another because Brad's father had discovered their relationship. Charlie begins to spend extra time with Patrick telling stories and just driving together. When I read these scenes in the novel, I felt a pang of sadness for Patrick. Even reading through Charlie I felt Patrick. And in these scenes in the film, I felt those pangs all over again. Very well done.

So if through reading those convoluted paragraphs you don't have a sense of my final thoughts on the film I'll say them now. The Perks of Being A Wallflower captured the essence of it's novel counterpart and is worth checking out if you're a big fan of the novel. Otherwise, if you're not a huge fan of the book or if you haven't read the book and are somehow reading this anyway despite the spoiler warning (shame on you) then I would probably wait to see when it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray/Whatever new format is most popular at the moment.

And I guess that ends this review. I hope you found this helpful in some way and feel free to comment if you have any thoughts on the film as well! (:

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