Saturday, September 29, 2012

My "Perks of Being a Wallflower" Review

Last night, I finally saw Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I felt I had been waiting all year for it to come out, so even though I had tissues with me, I actually spent the entire film with a huge smile on my face just because I was so happy to finally be watching it.

As I mentioned in my blog before, this movie is based on a book by the same name.  When I read the book oh-so-many years ago, I was mostly enchanted by the English teacher who kept giving Charlie all these great books to read.  I related to that, having had a great English teacher who assigned books that went on to become an integral part of who I am as a reader, writer, and person.  Why he couldn't look like Paul Rudd is beyond me.  Life, you are not fair.  But I digress...

The film lived up to my expectations.  I loved the look, the feel, the sound of it.  The soundtrack wasn't just fantastic and filled with great songs, it also made sense.  The music told just as much of each character's story as the scenes themselves did.  Life changes the moment you get some Bowie in your life.  There's never a reason to not belt out a monster rock ballad.  We all have "living room routines" that we're just waiting to show off when the right song plays.  These musical moments of the film were real and part of what made the entire film feel like I was watching these kids as they lived their lives, instead of watching a film about kids living their lives.

The performances themselves were "revelations."  I just wanted to say that since every other reviewer seems to be using that word as the new way of saying "awesome."  Well, I'm pretty sure they mean "awesome" by it...    They're not lying though.  Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, and Emma Watson do an incredible job carrying this film.  Emma's American accent wasn't perfect, but it occurred to me that it didn't have to be.  Some people just talk weird.  In my head, Sam just talked a little weird.  Maybe she was trying to be ironically pretentious, okay?  Would you put it past Sam?  I wouldn't.

Ezra Miller broke my heart toward the end.  This was my first time seeing his talent and I can now say that I understand the hype.  He played Patrick with a subtlety that I'm sure anyone else wouldn't have thought to use for this character.  On the flip side, Logan Lerman played Charlie with a self-awareness that I'm sure anyone else would've left out of their portrayal.  It would be so easy to make Patrick and Charlie high school stereotypes, one-layered caricatures of what the audience expects that person to be like, but neither Ezra or Logan took the easy way out, and they both ended up shining.

Going into the film, I was a little worried about the chemistry between Hermione Granger and Percy Jackson.  Let's be real, she only has eyes for Ron, and he has a thing for Annabeth.  This was not going to end well.  Okay, that wasn't the real reason why I was worried.  Just like everything else in the book, the relationship between Sam and Charlie is based on subtlety, so I was worried that if I blinked, I'd miss it.  Luckily it was very much there.  You could tell that Sam cared so incredibly much for Charlie, and you could see the hearts in Charlie's eyes.  They didn't even need dialogue.  The looks were there, as were the quiet moments, the thoughtful stares, the stolen glances...  It was a revelation!

However, I will give props to the dialogue anyway.  Being a writer, the idea of taking one of my own books and directing it myself is a pipe dream.  Unless some weird stroke of incredible luck suddenly befalls my existence (for the record, I'm not adverse to this happening), chances are that Stephen Chbosky is the luckiest writer ever.  EVER.  And I can't even hate on the guy because he took that opportunity, ran with it, and created a work of art.  I have nothing but respect.  I understand what it's like to know how your book feels and sounds.  To be able to bring that to life has to be up there in the scheme of great life moments.  Probably somewhere between hitting the lotto and eating french fries on a daily basis with no negative health effects.  (Again, for the record, I'm not adverse to any of these things happening.)  My point is that Chbosky had a vision, and I'm grateful to him for sharing it with us.

In closing, sometimes you leave a movie theater satisfied, entertained, and in the mood for a late night snack.  After watching Perks of Being a Wallflower, I left feeling all these things along with this innate sense of knowing I had just watched a personal and honest piece by an artist with a vision.  It put me in a creative mood and I woke up this morning with a new scene in my head for my novel.  Thanks, Perks!  Now I'm going to put on my playlist, listen to some Bowie, and go write.  Oh my God ... I'm Charlie!


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