The Perks Of Being A Wallflower Review

Can you ever really save someone?

It’s a strange idea that both boys and girls seem to get into their heads, especially when choosing someone to be with.

But I guess that’d be one of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower then, you get to observe this through most everyone else’s strange choices.

Charlie’s a quiet, sensitive and kind boy who’s just about to start high school; he’s also rather smart, so he’s not especially looking forward to it.

In fact, he’s counting down the days til he can leave.

As is so often the case with clever folk, it turns out Charlie was right; he doesn’t fit in with the other kids.

Luckily enough, our wallflower meets some older misfit kids who don’t seem to care much about what anyone else thinks.

So they take young Charlie under their wing because, well, they see that he’s different and think that’s a good thing rather than something to bully someone for.

But there are some dark secrets that bubble underneath Charlie’s calmer than cream surface and, as he starts to feel like he belongs, so these secrets begin to rise up again.

Having seen the trailer, I was a little sceptical before watching The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.

Directed and written by Stephen Chbosky, adapted from his own novel of the same name, I thought I knew what to expect; a feel-good comedy for the young adult market set in high school.

I was wrong.

It is that of course, which is a great thing, but it’s also a whole lot more.

Full of insightful touches and believable characters, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower spirals towards a climax that caught even someone as wise – i.e. old – as me by surprise.

Kind of like its hero Charlie, played by Logan Lerman who you’ll probably recognise from Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief.

Most acting roles call for stars to be as big as they possibly can, though for me this makes characters very rarely ring true; in Perks, Lerman gets to show the more introverted qualities that are often neglected in male leads for mainstream, Hollywood films.

And he does a stellar job in getting you to believe and root for his troubled but sweet teenage outsider.

Ezra Miller, the psychotic young son from We Need To Talk About Kevin, plays it camp as the too cool for school rebel outcast Patrick and the young actress also known as Hermione Grainger makes up this threesome as Patrick’s step sister Sam.

Marketed as Emma Watson’s breakaway role from the Harry Potter legacy, Miss Watson is spirited and sprightly; but her delicate features and little girl beauty mean she may need to wait a while before taking on more grown up roles.

Great as the cast may be, the sharp and disarmingly brilliant story Chbosky has crafted is the real star.

While it won’t come as much of a surprise that you can’t save anyone from themselves, the idea that maybe it’s the people who want to do the saving that have the real problems is.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

October 2012