The Perks of being a Wallflower is strange little film. After the end credits started to roll I had two contradictory views toward the film – I felt it was both average and extraordinary.
It’s average because there is essentially nothing new here – it is you bog standard ‘coming-of-age’ American movie. You have a kid who is a bit of a loaner and has some mental issues – he comes out of his shell thanks to a group of quirky new friends who bring out the ‘wallflower’ in him. On this basic plot structure alone, the film is very unremarkable. In fact, there have been much better and less celebrated films that cover similar ground such as The Way Way Back.
It’s the acting that sets this film apart – the cast turn genre stereotypes into characters I sympathise with. Ezra Miller gives his over the top gay bloke, Patrick, so much emotion that your heart breaks for him by the time the film finishes. Hermio… Emma Watson proves once and for all that she is grown and she isn’t that wooden actress we grew up with during the Harry Potter series. But seriously, Watson is super dope in this film and I’m not ashamed to admit that I fell for her. Watson’s Sam, like Miller’s Patrick, is a very familiar character, but Watson does enough for me to believe in her story.
But it is Logan Lerman who is the star of the show here. He is absolutely fabulous as Charlie – the range of emotions that he displays is just extraordinary. Throughout the film he has to play an extremely vulnerable, damaged but intelligent high-schooler – but then, midway through the film, the audience has to believe that he can also be intimidating. The fact that Lerman pulls this performance off without a hitch is, again, extraordinary. And most important, he is sweet and charming as hell in this film – you want to wrap the guy up in cling film and protect him.
So, I just happen to fall on the side that says that this film is dope – but I know a lot of people who nothing it, and I understand that view. While I might find many aspects in this film interesting and heart wrenching, others may very well see it as boring and unoriginal. But I would give this film a go, only for Logan Lerman’s performance. If that doesn’t float your boat, maybe a guilt free perv session of Hermione will win you over.