Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director/Writer: Stephen Chbosky
Music: Michael Brook
Cinematography: Andrew Dunn
It is not quite often a book author can direct a film adapted from his own novel, but Stephen Chbosky did it with this partially autobiographic story about a high school freshman Charlie (Lerman), gains love and friendship during the first year with his soon-to-be-graduated senior schoolmates.
Charlie is from a conventional Catholic family (McDermott and Walsh as his parents), ever since the beginning, Chbosky never cease to cue us that there are some lurking secrets of his past experience, and during the middle point, we knows his best friend committed suicide one year ago, yet, it is not the whole story, there is something more insidious and unspeakable hidden beneath, up till the very end, viewers will promptly get the truth out of the patchwork of its flashback sequences and it is a subdued strategy to present the truth in a way does not feel out of the place with the main plot line.
Instead of exploiting the shock value, Chbosky exerts his great effort to explore the heartfelt emotional pizazz of Charlie’s blossoming first love with his senior schoolmate Sam (Watson), and how he acquire not only true love but also genuine friendship in the coterie lead by Sam and her step-brother Patrick (Miller). In a slow-burning but invigorating narrative, the film tread the same water of a high-schooler’s bittersweet life, but thanks to the superb cast, namely the three main young actors, their candid feelings are immensely palpable, Lerman is definitely too cute to be overlooked as a wallflower, but his intent gaze and compelling sensibility is heart-swooningly inviting us to Charlie’s wounded heart.
Her first acting role after HARRY POTTER franchise, Emma Watson builds a fetching character as the pretty girl with a puzzled mind for her future, convincingly acts on her American accent, she never lose the spotlight whenever she in on the screen, even though her character’s flair possibly is undermined by her supportive function both as a girl with poor taste in men and a kindred spirit Charlie can wholeheartedly relate with due to his own dark secret. Ezra Miller, afresh from WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011), imbues an utterly contrasted performance here, idiosyncratic but full of sincerity, briskly jolly and playful, although his miserable gay relationship drains off his effervescence to some degree, his THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) lip-syncing impersonation is pungently enthralling and the two faces of Patrick’s plight stand up as a cogent subplot which concretes the POV of our modern day relationship, we are confidently blinded by our own perception of love, in a pathological masochism.
The mix-tapes gambits are really welcoming and put into a better use here as a teen spirit for youngsters in the 90s, and the film is a beacon of an examination of the mindset of adolescence in USA, really well done with its unforced delivery and all the bells and whistles never drag the main theme out of the sight, the family is united in the end, even the adults are all more realistically portrayed without any default vice to sabotage the authentic tonality, save one key plot device, the underused Melanie Lynskey. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER almost cracks into my top 10 films of the year, and Stephen Chbosky is very skillful in transform his subject matter onto another media, but for the three brilliant young players, they deserve more kudos because their performances are all in Oscar caliber!