Disclaimer: I’m not a professional movie critic nor an expert in the film industry. I’m just writing this solely based on my opinion and at the same time relate it to the knowledge that I gained from the subject I learned in college.
‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower’ is a coming of age teenage novel written by Stephen Chbosky and first published in 1999 by MTV Books. In 2012, a film adaptation with the same title hit the big screen. The film lined up several top rated actors as the main characters – Logan Lerman (Charlie), Emma Watson (Sam), and Ezra Miller (Patrick ‘Nothing’). Rated 8.0/10 on IMDb and 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film adaptation is such a big success for Stephen Chbosky as it collected 33.4 million USD for box office.
Both ‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower’ novel and film aim to deliver the story about a boy named Charlie. He’s a fifteen-years-old introverted boy who is in his freshman year of high school. Charlie is coping with the suicide of his friend, Michael and to lessen the fear and anxiety of starting high school alone, he starts writing letters to a stranger, someone that he has never met in person. Neither in the novel and the film this stranger is being described.
Patrick, along with his step sister Sam, become two of Charlie’s best friends and while he is not the biggest geek in the school, Charlie is by no means had experienced a first date and a first kiss. With his two best friends, Charlie digs further into knowing new things such as dealing with bullies and experiments with drugs and drinking. Luckily, Charlie is brought up in a stable home life with supportive parents. Well, this might sound like your typical high school kids film but you need to watch further to find out more. This review intends no spoiler for the readers.
Take a look at the trailer.
‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower’ is a fairly faithful adaptation. If you have read the novel, you can definitely see that the storylines, characters, and most of the situations are remain the same in the film. Unfortunately, due to ratings and his personal reasons, Stephen Chbosky decided to remove a few scenes from the film version. In an interview with Cinema Blend, Mr. Chbosky said that those scenes are just too much for the film after they had done shooting those scenes. He also claimed that after he reviewed the scenes, he felt that those scenes make the film adaptation looks literal compared to the original text. There are also a bit of substitution and addition of scenes. As in relation to the novel, the story is in overall a story of teenagers phase of growing up, teenage troubles, and trauma. For this reason, the film is rated as PG-13 (parents strongly cautioned).
The entire format of ‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower’ novel is a letter from Charlie. In each letter, Charlie will explains about the things that happened in his life. In order to avoid the film presented cheesier and dull with no straightforward actions, the screenwriter decided to still set some letter in the film but with more actions being played out by actors. In my opinion as a reader of the novel and as the viewer of the film, I think this deletion bring a big change to the story. All in all, the addition of some scenes in the film successfully made the film appealing.
As for me, I have read the novel and I have also watched the film version of ‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower’. I love both the novel and the film. In my opinion, this text and film pair has affected me much on the siblings and friends relationship that being illustrated a lot in the novel and film. Charlie is such a good friend and a helpful little brother in the story. Maybe he is a bit naive but he is sure loyal and supportive. It is also being portrayed in the film that Charlie’s friends, especially Sam and Patrick really adore him.
Both these siblings relationship and friends relationship are such an excellent portrayal to the public to really value every kind of relationships. Every person in this Earth needs people that truly understand and being appreciative towards them when they are in the state of collapsing. These people are really in need of moral supports from the people that they trust and as a friend, we need to be supportive and never put the blame on them as they, themselves are struggling to deal with the crisis that being held up until now.
Have you watched ‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower’? If yes, do share your thoughts about the film!