Top 15 Films of the Year, No. 11 – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a film directed and written by Stephen Chbosky.  The movie follows Charlie Kelmeckis, a young teenager entering his freshman year in high school in a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA.  Charlie enters high school as a troubled and introverted kid, struggling to find anyone to become friends with.  He ultimately meets two seniors, Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), and they quickly bond into an inseparable trio of best friends.  Throughout the rest of the school year, Charlie engages in many of the common events associated with adolescent years, such as partying and finding his first love, but deep, dark secrets of Charlie’s past continue pulsating through his veins and attempt to lead him down a disastrous path.

This movie, as stated above, was directed and written by Stephen Chbosky.  The novel of the same name that Chbosky adapted for this screenplay was actually a book that he himself wrote in 1999.  Even though Chbosky has written screenplays before, most notably the 2005 film Rent, this was his first attempt at directing a feature film.

After viewing the film, I was impressed with so many aspects of the production.  For starters, I thought it was a near-flawless screenplay with the perfect combination of drama and comedy, mixed with some quirky, witty dialogue.  Considering Chbosky adapted his own book, which had already been described as a modern cult classic, I was expecting his screenplay to receive some award considerations.  His screenplay has been nominated for a few different awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay at the Writers Guild Awards, but I believe his work is most definitely worthy of higher praise.

Chbosky also brought together a very young, but seasoned cast to portray the roles of his multifarious characters.  Logan Lerman (3:10 to Yuma, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) plays the role of Charlie, and on the screen, an unmistakably shaken teenager is illustrated, and this is almost entirely due to the skillful performance of Lerman.  Emma Watson takes on her biggest role since the Harry Potter franchise officially ended in 2011, and it is easy to determine from her performance in this film that she is not a one-dimensional actress—she indubitably has a bright career ahead of her in the film industry outside of Hogwarts.  Lastly, Ezra Miller (City Island, We Need to Talk About Kevin) gives an invigorating performance as Patrick.  Aside from Charlie, Patrick is one of the most complex characters of the entire film, and Miller delineates the character consummately as a kid trying to suppress the emotional, melodramatic issues in his life by providing humor to everyone around him.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, drug and alcohol use, sexual content including references, and a fight – all involving teens.

Academy Award nominated for The Perks of Being a Wallflower: