Sunday, March 10, 2013

#937. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Directed By: Stephen Chbosky

Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller

Tag line: "We are infinite"

Trivia: Though not explicitly shown on screen or mentioned, the film is set during the 1991-92 school year, just as it was in the book

Of all the films released in 2012, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is, hands-down, my favorite, and if it hadn’t been for the Movie Podcast Weekly, I might never have seen it.

The Movie Podcast Weekly is just that: an audio podcast that reviews a new theatrical release every week. A while back, co-host Karl Huddleston was singing the praises of a recent picture titled The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which he was calling one of 2012’s best offerings. 

Now, I’d heard of this film prior to Karl’s recommendation, but had zero interest in seeing it; the title alone made it sound like a sappy pre-teen flick, along the lines of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Then, a few weeks later, the show’s main host (and a good friend of mine) Jason Pyles also spoke highly of this movie, so I decided to check it out.

Needless to say, I’m glad I did.

Based on the novel he himself penned, director Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower centers on the trials and tribulations of Charlie (Logan Lerman), a high-school freshman who desperately wants to fit in. 

By chance, he meets Patrick (Ezra Miller), an outgoing senior who also introduces Charlie to his bubbly stepsister, Sam (Emma Watson). Before long, Charlie is accepted into Patrick's and Sam’s inner circle of friends, which also includes the pushy Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman) and the shy Alice (Erin Wilhelmi). 

Yet, in spite of all his new-found happiness, Charlie continues to be haunted by a secret from his past that, if left unchecked, could tear his world apart.

Though it occasionally delves into some pretty dark territory, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is, at its heart, an upbeat, energetic motion picture, which has everything to do with its tremendous cast. Lerman is convincingly awkward as Charlie, and Ezra Miller brings tons of personality to the part of Patrick, but the true standout is Emma Watson as Sam, Patrick’s beautiful, kind-hearted stepsister who takes Charlie under her wing. 

Many of the film’s best scenes, like the three of them dancing to the ‘80s hit, “Come on Eileen” or Sam “flying” through a tunnel as David Bowie’s “Heroes” plays on the radio, work because we truly believe these characters are the closest of friends, and we enjoy spending time with them. Thanks in large part to these young actors, The Perks of Being Wallflower is much more than a movie; it is a life-affirming experience.

Every week, whether by way of the social networks I frequent or the various podcasts I listen to, I'm turned on to dozens of films - some of which I've never even heard of before - that prove to be hidden gems. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one such movie. So, my sincere thanks go out to Karl Huddleston and The Movie Podcast Weekly. You guys introduced me to a real winner here!


Joshua Ligairi said...

Wow. Coming from you, this review means a lot. You have finally convinced me (no offense to my MPW co-hosts Karl or Jason) to check this out. I intentionally didn't read any of the plot description in your review because I want to be surprised, but I read the beginning and the end and was encouraged by words like "dark" and phrases like "much more than a movie; it’s a life-affirming experience." I still can't help feeling skeptical for all of the reasons you were, but I will definitely check it out now. Nice MPW shout-out as well. Thanks!

Chip Lary said...

I agree with you. I didn't think much of this film until it ended up on the IMDB Top 250 for the 2012 year end. I decided to watch it and it ended up in my Top 10 of 2012.

Anonymous said...

This movie was one of my favorites from 2012 because it made me laugh, be happy, and cry all at the same time. Great movie that should be watched by all teens looking for a reason to live and exist, especially in an atmosphere like high-school. Nice post.

DVD Infatuation said...

Thanks for the comments, guys! i appreciate them. And I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you.

@Josh: hello, sir! I'm humbled that you put such stock in my opinion, and I definitely recommend checking the movie out. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

@Chip: Yeah, it was a real shock how much I loved this movie. Glad to see I'm not alone! Right now, it's my #1 of 2012 (though, truthfully, I still have a few more to see!) I agree with you: Teens should definitely watch this movie (and thanks for the kind words: glad you enjoyed it!)

indieterror said...

I watched this movie because of your review. You were right on the money bout this movie. I have told everyone I know to watch this movie. I had to get ice cream after because of all the tears I shed.
Keep up the good work, I really enjoy reading your blog.

DVD Infatuation said...

@indieterror: I'm glad you enjoyed the movie! I like to recommend this one to people as well, and I'm happy to have turned you on to it. Thanks for the comment, and the continued support.