Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong? Have you ever felt like an outcast? Of course you have, who hasn’t? But it’s stories like The Perks of Being A Wallflower that really allow us to admit these things to ourselves, which isn’t easy to do.
I remember reading The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky for the first time a couple of years ago. It was a very touching coming-of-age story about an introverted boy named Charlie who is trying to cope with the suicide of his best friend when he enters his freshman year of high school. Throughout the book, he writes a series of letters to an unknown person as a coping mechanism. He’s taken under the wing of two seniors, stepsiblings Patrick and Sam, and experiences drugs, alcohol, first love, first dates, bullies, drama, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
I was very nervous when I found out that this was being made into a movie, however, when I heard that Chbosky was writing the screenplay and directing it, a lot of my worry subsided. Who better to write and direct a movie based on a critically acclaimed novel than the writer of said novel?! It worked in his favor, because I thought that the film was incredibly true to the book.
The three leads (Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, and Logan Lerman) were fantastic. Sure, you would hear the slip of a British accent from Emma Watson, but they really did bring these characters- these insecure and lost characters- to life for me.
The film version worked so well because there was a lot of emphasis on the emotions of the characters. What they feel are things that we all feel everyday: insecure, scared, alone, rejected, lost. There are a lot of dark themes in this story, but there is also a lot of hope as well. That’s why this story has resonated with so many people.
I just want to take a few moments to talk about Logan Lerman’s performance, specifically. He was Charlie. For me, there has never been a more perfect screen adaptation of a character from literature than Lerman’s Charlie. Not to get too personal, but he hit a nerve with me. He reminded me of why I relate to Charlie so much and why I fell in love with his story in the first place: because nobody is ever truly happy, and that’s okay; because sometimes people are different, and that’s okay; because there’s always going to be a lot of bad times in your life, but there’s also going to be a lot of good times as well. Reading the book, it felt like Charlie was writing his letters specifically to you, allowing you into his world and into his problems while at the same time, giving you reassurance; watching the movie, it was the same exact thing.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a beautiful and touching story. The film does the book so much justice. Charlie’s story may just change your life.
“Maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there. Because it’s okay to feel things. I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite. I feel infinite.”