The Perks of Being a Wallflower

JAMES MITCHELL can’t find the perks of being a wallflower, but can see the perks of watching this movie.

Directed by Stephen Chbosky 

Until now, I’ve had little trouble persuading people to come to the cinema with me. Possibly the free tickets have helped.

However, when I was asked to review “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” there were no takers. As it happened, I was forced to make the trek across town to Cineworld to watch it alone. That was sad enough – but the only showing I could make this week was the 10am screening.

If you have to watch a film in the morning, it should ideally be something upbeat or inspirational to set you up for the day ahead. This one however, was a teen angst film – the premise of which concerns a boy who returns to school following the death of his best friend and whose awkwardness makes it nigh on impossible for him to make friends. All before I’d even had breakfast.

The “Perks of Being a Wallflower” is wholly the creation of Stephen Chbosky: he wrote the best-selling book (first published in 1999); he wrote the screenplay; and he directed the Film. Assuming full control can be a risky affair – especially for the uninitiated – but in this case it seems to have worked. Indeed, Chbosky’s 1990s Pittsburgh is perfectly realised and, from what I have been told, the screenplay makes a perfect adaption of the book.

The central character, part-time narrator and eponymous shrinking violet is Charlie (Logan Lerman), a shy, intelligent 16-year-old from a conventional middle-class family. Emma Watson plays Sam, a promiscuous, pert senior who alongside Patrick (Ezra Miller) befriends the hapless Charlie, acting as guides on his trip through the trials and tribulations of school life.


All in all, the trio put in some decent acting performances. Lerman is the loner some of us can relate to; Ezra Miller inhabits his character in much the same way he wowed in We Need to Talk About Kevin – and Emma Watson, by far the best actor of the main three to emerge from the Harry Potter franchise, is graceful and vulnerable here. Some critics have suggested that a couple oftwentysomethings playing teenage versions of themselves didn’t quite work – though it didn’t bother me. I do it all the time.

The issues dealt with in this film are manifold: depression, rejection, first kisses, first touches, homosexuality, abusive parents and so on. But the central theme is stated several times: we accept the love we think we deserve. Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t quite awake – or maybe it’s because at heart I’m still an angsty teenager – but none of it felt clichéd

To conclude, whilst I’m still not quite sure what The Perks of Being a Wallflower are, The Perks of Reviewing Films for the Tab seem obvious: to see films like this that I would otherwise avoid at all costs. And if sometimes I am forced to go alone, at least no one is around to see me cry.