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The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Film Review

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by Richard Leathem (subscribe)
Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Published November 23rd 2012
In the rarefied world of films that are better than their book source, The Perks of Being a Wallflower deserves a place on the honour roll. Not to denigrate Chbosky's novel, but the characters take on a whole new life in the screen adaptation.

Much of the credit can be given to the casting of Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, who together create such an intoxicating trio, you just wish you could take down their numbers and keep seeing them after the film is over.

As the titular wallflower, it would've been easy for Lerman to be nothing more than a conduit for the story, a passive vessel from which to view the more colourful characters that populate his
milieu, but Lerman invests the shy Charlie with such tangibly suppressed anxiety and longing that its impossible not to feel for him.

As the most famous member of the cast, Emma Watson has chosen wisely in her first screen outing after Harry Potter duties. She radiates warmth and intelligence as Charlie's object of desire.

But really, We Need To Talk About Ezra. This boy has an other-wordly air about him. Whether playing the evil incarnate Kevin in last year's Tilda Swinton chiller, or the flamboyant and proudly queer Patrick here, he has the ability to add all sorts of nuances and layers that clearly didn't exist on the written page.

As a coming of age story, Perks has the usual nostalgic soundtrack of songs of yore, and our hero has the typically introverted, bookish nature that comes with the narrative territory. His isn't your typical adolescent story, however. There's a more troubling dimension to his psychology, which provides dramatic impact. Despite it's many charms and it's fair share of laughs, it's this disturbing undercurrent that gives the film it's strength.

If you're a fan of the original book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, chances are, you'll love the film. There's not much to gripe about in the adaptation of the novel, quite a feat considering the writer/director is the source novelist. On the rare occasions this happens, there's usually a real lack of self-editing.

If you haven't read the book, but you love a good, heart-felt story of love, angst, and friendship, I heartily recommend this to you.

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Why? Heart-felt coming of age story from a much loved book.
Where: At cinemas everywhere
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