The Perks of Being a Wallflower

11 Apr

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower tells the story of an introverted boy about to start his first year of high school. He’s Charlie (Logan Lerman) and he’s our main protagonist. At first an outsider struggling to make friends, he soon gets in with a couple of other apparent ‘misfits’ (their word, not mine). They are Patrick (Ezra Miller) and his step-sister Sam (Emma Watson), and they complete our trio of main characters.

We learn that Charlie has suffered some kind of mental/emotional trauma recently that he’s only just recovered from, although what that problem was is kept hidden for a long time. However, it has had a deep impact on Charlie and it’s made clear that those around him are concerned he’ll suffer again.

As the film progresses, we see that the group of friends Charlie has been integrated into all have their own emotional traumas and secrets. I like the way these are revealed as the story unravels. Without wishing to be too cute, it feels as though we’re getting to know the group just as Charlie does. We learn, just as he does, that he’s not alone and that there are people who can relate to his problems.

Although large parts of the film are predictable, we do get to find out what has caused Charlie all of his anguish. It’s not a massively surprising twist, but it does turn some of the film on its head and, at least for me, leads the final part of the story in a direction I wasn’t expecting.

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The standout feature of the film is the acting of the leading trio. Lerman, Miller and Watson all produce very good performances and deliver exactly what their roles demand. All three imbue in their characters a real sense of kindness and warm-heartedness. As the shy and vulnerable Charlie, Lerman was the standout for me. He is the anchor for the entire film and the other two feed off him very well. For a young cast, these are mature performances that cement their statuses as rising stars.

Now, I don’t want to be seedy but for young men of similar mind to myself, there is a lot to be said for the Emma Watson besides her acting. Of course, I’m reluctant to write anything that may look like I’m discrediting her performance in this film but there are a couple of key scenes where you see lovely Emma wearing a lot less in the way of clothes than we have previously been used to. It’s not unpleasant. That’s all I’m saying.

Moving swiftly on then; the film has another key strength that it likes to play to, but that also opens up its most glaring flaw – the soundtrack. It’s largely excellent. As something of an obsessive when it comes to The Smiths and Morrissey, I was delighted to hear a couple of the great bands songs appear in this film, and to see The Smiths posters adorning the walls of the characters. There are plenty of other great tracks to listen out for, and the characters are painted as music-obsessed and knowledgeable on the subjectThat being the case, how is it possible that when David Bowie’s classic song ‘Heroes’ comes in, the three freak out because they’ve never heard it before? The track forms quite an important part of the story and is referenced repeatedly, so it’s incredibly frustrating that such an instantly-recognisable tune is treated as an obscure or unknown song. I’ve heard a couple of explanations for this since I watched the film a few hours ago. One being that the film is set in a pre-internet age so the song wouldn’t be as accessible as it is today. I don’t buy that. I was also told it was based on a real occurrence, but still I find it impossible to get past. I just don’t buy that these kids don’t know Bowie. It’s too unlikely. In the grand scheme of things that’s only a small moan, but it just struck me as quite an obvious problem.

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Overall, I found this to be a good film that was well acted and extremely polished. At times a bit too predictable and regularly risking becoming too twee, it isn’t without its flaws, but it accepts itself as an ‘obvious’ coming-of-age tale about friendship and battling personal demons. It does pack a punch emotionally too. Without really realising I’d been sucked into it, I found myself with a lump in my throat on more than occasion. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a film worth seeing and a great showcase for some rising young stars of the silver screen.

7/10

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2 Responses to “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

  1. hotcrossbungay April 13, 2013 at 10:53 #

    Reblogged this on Mighty Mikey's Mega Blog.

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  1. The Bling Ring | I Liked That Film - July 7, 2013

    […] her. I’ve enjoyed seeing her post teen-witch development, establishing herself in movies such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Her performance here is one of the more interesting elements of the movie, but more on that […]

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