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Monday, October 15, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review
2012, 103 minutes
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, drug and alcohol use, sexual content including references, and a fight - all involving teens

This is how high school movies should be made.  Written and directed by the author of the book, Stephen Chbosky, Perks succeeds due to its brutal honesty, large heart, and solid acting, particularly by Logan Lerman in the lead.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows a boy, Charlie (Logan Lerman), haunted by his best friend's suicide, as he enters high school.  He has no friends and is bullied.  But, once he befriends seniors Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), his life changes forever.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower should be required viewing for teenagers as it deals with issues such as relationships, suicide, abuse, sexuality/sexual orientation, and just about everything else.  While this all sounds cliché (doesn't every teen movie deal with those issues?), it isn't because it deals with them with harsh honesty.  Nothing is glossed over and I truly believe that many outcast teens could relate to this film.  Also, the film sucked me in emotionally which made me really care about the characters.  Each character is well-developed and I really enjoyed watching them.

The film is helped substantially by something many teen films fall short on: acting.  Logan Lerman, as Charlie, is very impressive.  The range of emotions that Lerman portrays is wide and he is never less than completely convincing.  Watson is a pleasure to watch and it is fun to see her in something outside of Harry Potter.  And, finally Ezra Miller, an actor who has really impressed me recently.  After blowing me away with his chilling performance in We Need to Talk About Kevin, he pulls off a very different, but no less great, one as an openly gay teenager.  Miller made me really care about him in emotional scenes, and he steals the comedic ones.

The camerawork for this film was really interesting and beautiful.  It was in softer focus with some grain that gives the film a warm feel.  A very nice choice.

One last note.  I have always had serious issues with the MPAA, but don't always think I feel the need to write about it.  This one, however, was an exception.  This film was originally rated R (it was appealed and overturned to a PG-13) which is ridiculous.  This film will not harm any teens (the target age group), it will benefit them.  This film is also not even close to as racy as many other PG-13 films out there.  The MPAA is so hard on some great films that will benefit teens such as The King's Speech and Bully and so relaxed on others.

Overall, The Perks of Being a Wallflower isn't perfect (there are no flaws to point out, however), but it is a really good film due to its honesty, heart, and performances.  This is a great film to take teens to that will cause a lot of discussion and that will enrich you too.

-Joshua Handler

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