Movie Review: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
We review the Emma Watson/Logan Lerman high school drama.
By: Lynn Barker
If you were a shy high school freshman, wouldn’t you perk up if you had seniors including you in their crowd? Things get complicated when those seniors are former losers trying to navigate their own flawed lives and taking you along for the ride.
Charlie Brings Baggage
It’s the 1990’s before texting and teen Charlie (Logan Lerman of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief) feels alone and disconnected as he enters high school. His BFF from middle school committed suicide and Charlie would like to just skip straight to college. Smart Charlie is quiet in class, has blackouts and is casually bullied. Only cool English teacher (Paul Rudd) befriends him. He also has weird flashbacks to his childhood with a favorite aunt.
Patrick and Sam to the Rescue
Flamboyant and quirky senior bro/sis duo Sam (Harry Potter’s Emma Watson) and Patrick (the marvelous Ezra Miller) latch onto Charlie and are responsible for his first high on a brownie, first party experiences and, in Charlie’s case, first real love crush on Sam whom he thinks is out of his league. Charlie gets included in their Rocky Horror live show and Patrick drives him fast through a tunnel while Sam stands up in the back of the truck. You know, cool high school things.
Charlie To the Rescue
When Sam starts dating a hot college guy, Charlie is pushed into a relationship with her quirky friend Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman) and feels like he’s living a lie. He also comes to the aid of Patrick, who is gay, when Pat’s secret boyfriend, a jock, denies him in public. Sam gets low SAT scores so Charlie helps her study and comforts her when her college guy dumps her.
Time to Move On
Charlie faces some old demons, a family secret he has carried for years. Charlie and Sam finally admit their feelings. Why didn’t he ask her out? He thought she was out of his reach. They hook up right before Sam leaves for college and, along with Patrick, the trio takes a last ride through the tunnel at high speed. This time it’s Charlie standing up in the truck.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower adapted by author Stephen Chbosky from his YA novel, is a very “real” movie about the intense emotions hitting teens in high school. There is a lot of story to cover, including Charlie’s dark side and family secret which could be a movie on its own but there are moments and scenes that ring so true. You’ll identify with them in some way. There are cool insights like “People accept only the love they think they deserve”. So true.
Emma Watson is really good as the wounded but hopeful Sam. She does a great job of ditching her Brit accent to play an American and Ezra Miller is just amazing as the flamboyant Patrick whose wild behavior hides his hurt. Logan Lerman makes a vulnerable and sweet Charlie. Be warned that this PG-13 film handles some adult subject matter but there is nothing “gross” in it.
For teens especially, The Perks of Being a Wallflower will hit home and entertain. We give it four stars.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower Movie: