October 2, 2012
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" brings us back to the early 1990s, telling us the story of a smart but problematic high school freshman, Charlie (Logan Lerman). His spends his days simply avoiding everyone else, until he was accepted by seniors/half-siblings, Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson) into their circle of oddball friends.
With them, Charlie is drawn into the teen experience and actually gets to do things which up to then he had only been a viewer from the sidelines. With Sam, Charlie experiences his first love, but of course, as films like this go, it will not be as simple as that.
Logan Lerman does a redux of his role as Percy Jackson, a troubled teenager. However, this time he is a normal human being, not a son of Poseidon. This guy can really turn on the angst. He reminded me of a young John Cusack of the 80s or Paul Rudd of the 90s. In fact, since Paul Rudd plays Charlie's favorite teacher, their conversations looked like Paul talking to his younger self. Being some sort of a teenage wallflower myself back in the day, I can feel his pain. This is one very sensitive actor, and I look forward to more movies of this guy.
Emma Watson, we were all excited to see graduate from her days as Hermione Granger. And she certainly does here, playing a girl who had been taken advantage of by men and boys with she had relationships in the past and even the present. You can really feel why Charlie got attracted to her free spirit, yet unable to express how he really feels for her. Emma fulfills the promise she had as an actress who grew up in front of all of us. She will be a force to reckon with in awards seasons to come.
Watching this as an adult and a parent now, I wonder how the experience will be for my kids growing up into their own teen years. Watching Dylan McDermott and Kate Walsh play Charlie's parents, not knowing why their precious son behaved that way he did. It gives us pause to know our own kids more, and hope that they do not keep major life-altering secrets from us.
More than the scenes at school, I enjoyed the scenes about their togetherness as a family. I liked the scenes where siblings took time to talk and relate to each other, knowing when one needed help. There are many tiny lessons here and there in this film which viewers can get life lessons from. I can imagine so many people identify with this movie on various levels. The glorious 1980s soundtrack really helps the audience connect. Kudos to director and author Stephen Chbosky! I will definitely seek out and read the book as well.