the perks of being a wallflower
film review by jennifer kiley
Emma Watson—Sam; Logan Lerman—Charlie; Ezra Miller—Patrick
The Perks of Being a Wallflower was a surprise from beginning to end. When choosing to rent the film “Bully” other films were suggested. I had heard of this film but did not know many details about it, so when I saw it amongst the other choices to check out I looked into it. My partner told me that Emma Watson was in it. Well, that was all I needed to hear, being a Harry Potter fan and loving the character of Hermione Granger & sharing the same birthday as Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter himself. It was a go. I watched a brief trailer and read a synopsis of the film and was more and more encouraged to wanting to see it like NOW. Well, after putting it into the DVD player a little less than five hours ago from writing this, I was totally swept away by the first song that opened up the film. I have the video on this post: Could It Be Another Change by the Samples. Brilliant lyrics, beautiful song. It draws you quickly into the feel of the film. I included a trailer and the three stars and director appearing on Anderson Live. It is a short but fun video of this amazing cast and the director. Perks… is adapted from the book. The screenplay is quite intelligent, written perfectly and the story is a surprise in every moment. You have no idea what to expect. It unfolds sometimes with a bite and then a gentle nudge.
The relationships that develop are unique. The uncertainty of whether one is watching a comedy sometimes and a drama at others makes for a delightful and warming comfort that these young people in high school have found each other. But it isn’t simple at all. Events, memories and conversations that occur are never predictable and hold many startling surprises. I was spellbound by the entire film. I rewatched it with barely a break between the ending and beginning it again. That is how powerful and great a film it is. There is such depth and the film is filled with so many profound moments throughout the entire film. There is never a moment that you want your attention to wander. It seems essential to hear every word and see every movement between people and settings.
This group that Charlie has been invited into by Sam and her step-brother Patrick, see themselves as wallflowers, which in this film is a good thing. The others in the film who are on the periphery. The characters you expect to be the bullies, who meet that criteria, and the “popular” (whatever that actually means) kids are the ones that seem out of place and boring and sometimes quite insufferable to watch. You really want them to just disappear. To go away. Poof!
This film does have its hidden secrets, but I will not reveal what they are. I am NOT GOING TO DO SPOILERS here. You need to find out on your own. I would strongly suggest you rent or buy this DVD and add it to your collection. In my humble opinion, I feel it is something you will want to watch and need to watch and something everyone should watch. See the film and you will understand why I am saying this. The young actors who play these well defined characters are familiar, especially Emma Watson, who plays Sam, a young girl who is so loveable and kind, you just want to hug her for all the wonderful things she does. You feel her vulnerability and generosity when she meets Charlie, played by Logan Lerman, a writer lives within him. A superb actor who I first discovered in the TV show Jack and Bobby. Christine Lahti played mom and a college professor. Logan’s character was a young kid destined to become president.
Then there is Patrick played by Ezra Miller. You may know him from a film that, also, starred Tilda Swinton: We Need to Talk About Kevin. If you saw this film you would remember. It is a film made in 2011 that fits right in with the constantly increasing violence and mass shooting murders happening all too often in the USA and around the world. A difficult film to watch but brilliantly made and the acting and screenplay haunting. Patrick is an out going, marvelously developed young man who befriends the misfits and stands up for who he is and doesn’t take shit from anyone. You absolutely adore him or at least I did and so did my partner. He is a marvelous character that anyone would want to emulate.
All three are loveable young people, that you cannot help but cheer for and want to support throughout the film. I cannot praise this film enough. The Perks of Being a Wallflower has received raving reviews from critics and audiences. It is well worth your time to see this film. If you don’t you will never know what a majorly profound moment in time you have missed or better said you have been left out of or let pass you by. If I could rate it higher than the usual Five Stars most films give as the highest marks, then I would raise it to TEN STARS.**********
Oh, I did forget to mention it does take place in the early 1990s, with drugs and love, and sex confusion, gay characters that are not always treated with respect or into the closet and obnoxious about it. The trial of being teenagers and some who have lived through traumas that are discovered throughout the film. Charlie, is the main focus but all those around him are devoted to reassuring themselves that he is taken care of and is alright. It will hold your attention. I wanted to be sure I heard every word and nuance that occurred during the entire film. A brownie anyone.
The book has become a bible to some teenagers. One of the actor’s had to read it first before a group in his school would allow him to join them as friends. It is an important story that all people should become aware of it. Read the book and watch the film. It is the story that touches everyone’s experiences someplace in their lives, in some way. One last thought: the fact that it is a film and book about the lives of teenagers does not limit it to be something that only teenagers would want to see. It goes into the collective mind. We have all been someplace in this story. It does have an effect on all of us. — jk the secret keeper
“Children who are victimized through sexual abuse often begin to develop deeply held tenets that shape their sense of self: ‘My worth is my sexuality. I’m dirty and shameful. I have no right to my own physical boundaries.’ That shapes their ideas about the world around them: ‘No one will believe me. Telling the truth results in bad consequences. People can’t be trusted.’ It doesn’t take long for children to begin to act in accordance with these belief systems. For girls who have experienced incest, sexual abuse, or rape, the boundaries between love, sex, and pain become blurred. Secrets are normal, and shame is a constant.” ― Rachel Lloyd, Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself
“We accept the love we think we deserve.” —Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower