Opening 1 Nov 2012
In the touching adaptation of Stephen Chbosky's popular book of the same name, we are introduced to the introverted and lonely Charlie (Logan Lerman) as he begins his first year of high school. The film follows Charlie as he deals with the suicide of his best friend, his own mental illness, teenage sexuality, and his first love (Emma Watson). This coming of age story tackles many of the issues that realistically occur during high school such as depression, teen drug use, homophobia and isolation from peers.
Several aspects come together to make The Perks of Being a Wallflower successful in tackling such dramatic themes without making a mockery out of the high school experience. The young cast tackles the heavy issues of the film with finesse that is rarely seen in teen movies. Logan Lerman particularly shines as Charlie, as he plays the awkward introvert with real emotional depth. Also, the audience is deftly shown issues such as teen drug use without excessive drama or judgement. The use of humor is often cleverly used so that the atmosphere never gets too heavy which actually helps the film gather in intensity until the dramatic climax.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower successfully depicts the actual feelings of isolation and confusion that many teenagers experience in high school. What is also important is the message of hope and discovery that underlay the entire film, because in the end it is true that high school only lasts so long and eventually we are all free to escape and make what we want of ourselves outside of the limited social constraints of our teenage years. This is poignantly referenced when Charlie says how many days of high school he has left (which was, well over a thousand days in the beginning of the film). The point is to take all of the bad and the good that happens and to help it make you a stronger person, because there is so much more to see and do that does not involve high school. With this message, I highly recommend The Perks of Being a Wallflower for teenagers and adults alike. (Rose Finlay)