This shady coming-of-age drama based on Stephen Chbosky's critically acclaimed novel is about a quirky and misfit trio embarking on high school life before heading to college. Of course, it was never going to be simple. They encounter romance, arguments, and fights but also, some dark secrets come out the closet, literally.
Stephen Chbosky, who wrote the novel, delves his talent into only his second ever feature film after 'The Four Corners of Nowhere' in 1995. So, after a fifteen year break, how did his following film pan out? Firstly, he had a lot to live up to as the book alone has received much respected praise, even though in some schools it is still banned for content involving drug abuse and homosexual references. I cannot stress enough that Stephen really delivered on this script. I sometimes judge an adapted film when I read that the original novelist is writing/directing the film because it is very different to put words onto the big screen. I was sceptical about this classic novel too, but I had nothing to worry about. Chbosky delivered on every scene. The narrative was stunningly portrayed as he left twists and turns along the way and let the audience guess what would happen next. The scenes were perfectly shot and simplicity really was the key with this film. There were no extravagant sets or expenses, just pure narrative genius and amazing performances by the actors. If the readers and lovers of the book are worried of this adaptation, never fear, Stephen has done it justice.
The casting for this film was perfect. A special mention for Venus Kanani and Mary Vernieu, who were the casting directors, as they assembled a great mixture of young talent to deliver the impressive script by Stephen. The main protagonist is Logan Lerman who plays Charlie. Charlie lives at home with his mother, father and sister in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is about to attend high school as a freshman to begin a struggling school life as a 'wallflower' until he sees the perks of being one when he meets Sam (Emma Watson) and her step-brother Patrick (Ezra Miller). Lerman, Miller and Watson share amazing chemistry throughout the film as they live each other's problems and learn to try to overcome them. Each character has dark secrets whether it is being homosexual or dealing with personal grief for lost loved ones. However, they find solace with each other's company.
Lerman's awkward and innocent characteristics are portrayed flawlessly as he partakes in drugs and romance for the first time. The audience really feel for him, wanting him to succeed in life and I believe that is difficult as a young actor in a feature film to convey. Emma Watson is amazing as a supporting actress to Lerman and Miller as she flirts with Charlie and socialises with Patrick. She was the perfect cast for this interesting, secretly dark role as she struggles to find happiness.
Finally, Ezra Miller provides a very convincing performance as a homosexual who has not came out yet, apart from to his close-knit friendship circle. He struggles in school life as people call him names and taunt him for being homosexual, however he has a huge secret that I will not spoil in this review. Overall, the acting is superb in this dark drama. I cannot really find a weak scene or a below-par acting performance in any part of this film. I think Paul Rudd's role as Mr. Anderson, an English teacher, deserves credit as his character has a huge effect on Charlie. A highlight in the acting department is Charlie's breakdown near the end, and come to think of it, every scene with Emma Watson... Dazzling.
The Verdict To sum up, I think this film is spotless as a coming-of-age drama with flawless acting and a matching script to accompany it. I do think it will not receive the praise it deserves in terms of box office figures as on the preview show and the opening night; the audience was a little over half capacity in an average screen showing. However, do not let this misjudge you and deny you seeing a perfectly good film.
For me, this film has become my film of the summer, I say summer as it was out in September in America, even beating 'The Dark Knight Rises' as I highly unexpected it to be such a touching drama. This is a must-see on the big screen, even if it is just to see the lovely Hermione, I mean Emma Watson, as she grows into a stunningly talented actress. I must state, expect very big things to come from Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller in the near future. Remember their names as they have a lot more to give to this industry.