‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ Review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is about a guy named Charlie, a high school freshman who has a mental condition, and the shenanigans he gets up to in his first year in high school. Charlie becomes friends with a group of social misfits which include a gay guy, Patrick, and a Buddhist Punk, Mary Elizabeth. 

The main message of this film is about staying true to yourself. While this message isn’t always obvious, there are some scenes that make it very apparent. One such scene is when Brad, who plays on the American Football team and is secretly gay, and his friends are bullying Patrick in the school cafeteria. In this scene, Patrick asks Brad “are you going to do anything?” and taunts him by asking “do you want your friends to know how you really got those scars?” The audience finds out soon after this scene how Brad got the scars.

The Good Stuff

This film manages to be sweet, affectionate and poignant while also being weird and messed up, which is very effective. The script is well written, the performances from the whole cast are brilliant, and the cinematography and soundtrack are beautiful.

The stand out performance for me was that of Emma Watson, who plays Sam. Sam was formerly a ‘bad girl’ who spent much of her first year in high school getting drunk and sleeping around, but has since started to turn her life around and has started studying for school, with some help from Charlie.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show makes two appearances in this film, with some members of the friend group being involved in performing a live rendition of the film while the film plays on a screen behind them. This helps to reinforce the groups status as social misfits.

The Bad Stuff

This film is quite sad in places. This is partly because of Charlie dealing with his mental illness, but it’s also because of the terrible things that are shown in the film, such as bullying, rejection and the effects of suicide on others. While this contributes to the overall poignancy of the film, it can make it hard to watch.

Summary

While this is an amazing and poignant film with a great script, brilliant performances and beautiful cinematography, it can be quite sad at times. This is my favourite film to be released in the past year, very narrowly beating Skyfall.

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