The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Street Date: February 12, 2013
Available On: DVD and Blu-ray
The Film: Charlie (Logan Lerman) is an unpopular high school freshman who is befriended by a pair of eccentric seniors, Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller). Together they navigate the troublesome waters of being a teenager when everything is new and exciting and joy is often tempered by agonizing lows.
The Extras: Audio Commentary with director/writer Stephen Chbosky, Audio Commentary with the director and cast, “Best Summer Ever” featurette, Deleted Scenes, Dailies
Recommendation: In my teens I turned to the films of John Hughes, particularly “Pretty in Pink,” as an anchor in the inevitable chaos of life. Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is infused with the spirit of Hughes, but it takes things one-step further as it presents the world as something more complex than the popular vs. the outcast. There is a real sense of danger, defeat and disappointment that lingers in the shadows. There is also a greater sense of joy and discovery that somehow makes the difficult times worth surviving.
I’ve watched the film five times now and while “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” doesn’t exactly mirror my experiences as a teenager, but it does come surprisingly close in a number of areas. There are pieces of me, my friends and our supporting cast scattered throughout the film’s characters. It is painful, beautiful, dismal and glorious swirled together.
The cast is phenomenal, the music selection flawless (the use of Michael Brook’s Infinite Guitar is a perfect match for so many different reasons) and while the Blu-ray might expose some of the film’s rough edges visually (it’s unusually soft in detail) it is still a wonderful cinematic experience.
It is also interesting to note that Chbosky has done a wonderful job of adapting his novel. The novel was a series of letters written by Charlie to an unidentified pen pal. This format works wonderfully as a book, but would not have been as successful as a screenplay or film. Chbosky’s screenplay lifts the essence of the novel and adapts it perfectly. Yes, some details are changed, certain subplots are passed over (see the deleted scenes), but none of the impact of the story is lost.
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is one of the finest coming-of-age films ever made and a film that will always be a precious part of my collection.
-Ryan Michael Painter
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcast Group)