Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky wrote "Perks of being a Wallflower" in 1999 and immediately caused controversy due to Chbosky's portrayal of teen sexuality and drug use resulting in the book being banned. More than a decade later he wrote the screenplay and directed the film that has yet to receive a wide distribution, but is a powerful film that should be seen by everyone.
The story takes place in a suburb of Pittsburgh during the early 1990s, when Charlie (Logan Lerman) is a high school student counting the number of days until he graduates. Charlie is apprehensive due to the death of his only good friend Michael, who committed suicide several months before the story begins. He does not feel that he can lean on his perfect family with an older brother, Chris (Zane Holtz) that plays football at Penn State, an older sister, Candace (Nina Dobrev) that has a loser boyfriend, and their unnamed parents Dylan McDermott and Kate Walsh, because they never truely understood them. He also explains that the only relative that he ever felt close to was his Aunt Helen (Melanie Lynskey), but she was killed in a car accident on his seventh birthday for which he blames himself.
Charlie's life is very simple yet complicated as he journeys through the challenges and the joys of falling in love for the first time. Trust me when I tell you that this film is anything but an after school special. Charlie has no friends at first, but receives special attention from his English teacher Mr Anderson (Paul Rudd) even though he realizes that if the only friend he makes is his teacher that he will likely never make any new friends. The happy-go-lucky Patrick (Ezra Miller) takes him under his wing and welcomes him as a wallflower and to the band of misfits along with his step-sister, Sam (Emma Watson).
The story manages to go through a spectrum of topics such as homosexuality, drugs and death. The dialogue is so very honest and is the perfect vision of Chbosky that engages the audience and communicates to the teen that is still in all of us. What really connects the audience with the story is the soundtrack that includes amazing songs from a mix tape from Chbosky that includes the Smiths "Asleep" and David Bowie’s “Heroes”. The acting in the film from Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller is absolutely amazing. While it was nice to see Emma Watson in something outside of Hogwarts, she seemed just a bit off to me. The lack of parental guidance in the film also appeared amiss to me as they don't have names and are rarely involved with any of the kids lives. Ezra Miller deserved a nomination for his performance in "We Need to Talk About Kevin", and even more deserving now as a positive role model to gay teens as his performance is not defined by his sexuality.
"Perks of Being a Wallflower" is a powerful film that will find a way to connect with most everyone. It is one of the best coming-of-age films in recent years and deserves a much larger distribution than it has currently received. In addition to Ezra Miller's performance which should receive a nomination for supporting actor the screenplay is also very deserving. This is yet another 5 Quack film and I hope everyone will see this film.