The Perks of being a Wallflower 3/4 – a movie review by James Berardinelli

December 3, 2012 by James Berardinelli - Reelviews
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Most of us, even some who were part of the “in crowd,” think of ourselves as having been outsiders during high school. It’s the nature of adolescence.

Movies like Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflowercapture the awkwardness, the loneliness, and the unusual fellowship that accompany being on the outside looking in. As the film expresses, it’s not necessarily a bad place to be… it’s just different. This is not, of course, the first motion picture to explore this coming-of-age facet; in fact, the subgenre has become quite popular as those who grew up during the ’80s and the ’90s became filmmakers and used aspects of their own life stories. But The Perks of Being a Wallflower tweaks the formula just enough to remain fresh and offer something a little new. It’s sad, funny, warm, and nostalgic – kind of like high school, really.

No one, especially not Stephen Chbosky, can claim that the movie is not a faithful translation of the book. Chobosky wroteThe Perks of Being a Wallflower. He has the sole screenplay credit for the adaptation, and he is the director. The movie might have benefitted from a little judicious trimming here and there – some subplots feel superfluous and are not well developed. (Example: the main character’s sister’s relationship with her boyfriend.) But there’s nothing glaring and the central story – that of the titular wallflower, Charlie (Logan Lerman) – is presented with great heart and insight.

 

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