Movie: The Perks of Being a Wallflower - A funny and touching coming-of-age story based on the beloved best-selling novel by Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a modern classic that captures the dizzying highs and crushing lows of growing up. Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a moving tale of love, loss, fear and hope-and the unforgettable friends that help us through life. From UK Wallflowers Facebook Page.
After recently reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, the review of which you can read here, I was hugely eager to go and watch the movie. Now, I don't normally write movie reviews, but after seeing the movie on Monday, it would be a crime not to as the movie is so good. You know, I might have just found my new favourite movie.
The novel blew me away in ways I can't describe - so much so that I now consider it my favourite book. Normally, books that are awesome make my favourites list, where all books are loved equally, no one book topping the other. That was until I read Perks. This is a book that I know will end up being really tattered and shabby because of how many times I'll re-read it; it will be a well-loved book. So you can imagine how excited I was for the movie, after having the novel make such a huge impression. Strangely enough, I wasn't nervous about whether the movie would match up to the book. I saw the trailer before I read the book, so I had an idea it would be fairly good. I just didn't expect it fill me with as much awe as the book did. It was perfect.
The fact that Stephen Chbosky, the author, also wrote the screenplay and directed the movie is one of the key reasons why this movie is so amazing. It doesn't feel like a book-to-movie adaptation, it feels more like they both go hand in hand. Sure there were some things that weren't included, some changes, and a reorder of things, but essentially, it's exactly the same story. Where normally I'm a little disappointed by adaptations, with Perks, I think it's the best I've ever seen. No disappointment at all.
The other key reason why Perks is such a great movie is the acting. Not just in the way the actors were just perfect for their roles - Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller and Emma Watson are incredibly believable as Charlie, Patrick and Sam - but also in the fantastic talent of each actor. It's in the things that aren't said; the feelings I felt when reading Perks were mirrored on the faces of Miller and Watson. The way they looked at Charlie throughout the movie, with awe, respect, gratitude, pity and sympathy made me feel like I was part of it all, as I felt those same things to as I read the book and then again as I was watching. Their silent moments spoke volumes about their love for Charlie.
It was like the roles of Charlie, Patrick and Sam were written for the actors who played them, even though the book was published back in 1999. Lerman could be Charlie, he played him so brilliantly. I wanted to adopt him. His shyness, his uncertainty, how eager he was to make friends - I fell in love with him right from the word go. No, I didn't fall in love with him, I continued to love him, because there was immediate recognition of an old friend. It's hard to separate Lerman's portrayal with the character in the novel; it just feels like Charlie came to life and stepped out of the pages, and Lerman is him. And those scenes towards the end, oh my god, I just wanted to steal him and take him away from all the hurt. His performance is just breathtaking.
I loved Patrick in the novel, but Miller brought more life to him. His portrayal of Patrick is camper than I imagined him, but it didn't feel ridiculous or like he ruins the character, it actually felt right; this is who Patrick is, and I just didn't see it clearly before. He was absolutely hilarious, and, when present, his pain was so raw it broke my heart. To see someone who was so happy go lucky, so confident and happy in his skin, break the way he did was heart-wrenching.
I was so impressed by Watson's performance. That actually sounds really rude, like I expected less. Of course, I didn't, but after watching Watson grow up on screen for quite a few years now in the Harry Potter franchise, Perks shows just how talented an actress she is. All traces of Hermione have vanished, you don't see even a glimmer of Watson's previous role at any point in Perks. Even her mannerisms, which I had always thought were Watson's own, are completely absent. Watson gives a wonderfully grown up and mature performance in Perks, and I couldn't imagine anyone else playing Sam. It's so hard to believe she's three years younger than me. So for those who are worried about seeing Hermione play Sam, I can safely say you can stop; you don't see Hermione at all. Also, Watson's wardrobe: I want it. She has so many amazing outfits in this movie! And away from the dowdy that came with Hermione, Watson is really beautiful, and I kind of hate her for it - in the nicest way!
I'm not one of those people that makes a habit of seeing movies at the cinema several times, not even for those big book-to-movie adaptations everyone gets excited for months in advance. I go see them, I love them, and then I wait for them to come out on DVD. But with Perks, as soon as the movie finished, I wanted to go back in and watch it from the very beginning yet again. There were moments I laughed, moments tears were brought to my eyes, and moments when I was filled with the most overwhelming awe. The movie of The Perks of Being a Wallflowers is, quite simply, beautiful, and, as well as the book, will stay with me for a long, long time. If you haven't seen it yet, I implore you to while you still can. If it doesn't end up winning numerous awards, I'll be amazed.
Released: 4th October 2012
Director and Screenwriter: Stephen Chbosky
Actors: Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, and Emma Watson
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