The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a film adaptation of Stephen Chbowskys celebrated teen novel of the same name. Chbowsky took complete creative control and acted as both the director and screenplay writer. In doing so, the film remained faithful to the beloved novel and kept the essence of the text. Logan Lerman stars as Charlie, a shy, but very observant 16-year-old living in Pennsylvania. Lerman captivates the audience with his delicate and yearning ways that connects to viewers of all ages.
Emma Watson sheds nearly a decade of playing Hermione in the Harry Potter series nd emerges as Sam, one of Charlie’s best friends and secret love interest. Completing the trio is Ezra Miller, who portrays Patrick, an openly gay high school senior who also befriends Charlie. Together they play an honest group of friends going about the motions of high school. The film was given a $13 million budget and was produced by Mr. Mudd, a production company best known for the cult-following teen film, Juno. Summit Entertainment, most notable for the Twilight Saga, distributed the film worldwide.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower was released on September 21st, 2012 in the United States in limited theaters and on September 23rd, 2012 in other countries. The film grossed $228,359 on its limited four theater-opening weekend. The film earned $17,742,948 in North America and $14,455,937 in other countries, for a worldwide total of The film takes place in suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is narrated by its protagonist, Charlie. Charlie is a quiet, reserved 16-year-old boy, entering his freshman year of high school. He is slow to make friends, but manages to connect with his English teacher.
Eventually, Charlie befriends Sam and Patrick, a unique duo n the senior class. Realizing he has no other friends, they invite Charlie to be a member of their group. They quickly become inseparable; Sam and Patrick introduce Charlie to alcohol and marijuana and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and he gives them insight into his troubled mind. As the film progresses, the viewer gains access to the deeper parts of these characters. Sam, much to Charlie’s dismay, has a boyfriend, and is so focused on getting accepted to Penn State University that Charlie is merely a second thought.
He discovers later that Sam’s boyfriend routinely cheats on her. Patrick, Sam’s quirky right-hand man is revealed to be gay, and routinely hooks up with one of the school’s star athletes, Brad. However, it is Charlie with the most secrets. It is revealed through choppy flashbacks that his Aunt Helen sexually abused him when he was a child not long before she died. Before Sam and Patrick leave for Penn State, Sam kisses Charlie, telling him “we accept the love we think we deserve”. He is slowly falling in love with Sam regardless of his girlfriend Mary, and annot do anything about it.
This triggers Charlie’s childhood memories and leaves him emotionally unstable when his two best friends leave for college. Overcome with grief, Charlie begins having severe flashbacks of his Aunt Helen and blames himself for her death. His family believes he is suicidal and calls the police, and he is admitted into a hospital for psychiatric evaluation. The psychiatrist explains to cnarlle’s parents wnat nls aunt 010 to nlm, ana reveals ne suppressed tne memory because he loved her so much.
After undergoing therapy, Charlie is allowed to return home, where Sam and Patrick are waiting for him. The trio catches up, and takes a drive to the infamous tunnel they visited the first night they spent with Charlie. There, Charlie kisses Sam again, on his terms. As theyre driving, Charlie climbs into the bed of the truck of and acknowledges that he finally feels alive. He ends the novel reflectively, stating, “We are infinite”. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was filmed in a way to give it an early 1990’s feel.
The cinematography is dark with moderately bleak oloring. It makes the film feel cozy and personal. Charlie narrates the film occasionally in first person, which prevents confusion when switching from the present to his flashbacks. The flashbacks, however, gave little insight to the viewer as to what happened between Charlie and his Aunt Helen. They were rather vague, and difficult to find any meaning within them. The only reason I understood them was because I had previously read the novel. Chbowsky does a very good Job of translating Charlie’s thoughts onto the screen.
It is often difficult for a director to accurately transform a book told in first person into a movie, but Chbowsky manages to do so with ease through his first person narration. Had Charlie not been expressing his thoughts throughout the film, it would have been very easy for the viewer to get confused because as a character, Charlie is very shy and reserved. Only through his mind can we really uncover his true personality. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was both a critical and commercial success, with avid lovers of the books and critics alike praising it.