The Perks of Being a Wallflower – review: Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, thursday 4 october 2012
Ezra Miller is given a disappointing role in this teen agony drama that has a strong flavour of phoniness.
Production year: 2012
Cert (UK): 12A
Runtime: 103 mins
Directors: Stephen Chbosky
Cast: Dylan McDermott, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Kate Walsh, Logan Lerman, Nina Dobrev, Paul Rudd
Those who admired Ezra Miller’s performance in Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, and were eager to see what he did next, are going to be dismayed at the way he has been cast in this passive-aggressive teen agony drama with a strong flavour of phoniness. Miller gets to play the campy-witty gay best friend, who is simply a sacrificial figure; his function is to lend depth to the straight characters’ stories. It is 1991, and Logan Lerman (who played the lead in the fantasy movie Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief) is Charlie, a sensitive, lonely boy who is just starting out in high school. He gets taken under the wing of sassy step-siblings Patrick (Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson) and soon finds the resulting emotional triangle just as painful and complex as the loneliness he’d left behind. Sam is supposedly much hipper than her crass classmates, being into the Smiths and Dexys Midnight Runners. And yet, bafflingly, she does not recognise David Bowie’s Heroes when it comes on the car radio. Patrick is catty and bitchy, but his inner life is a mystery. The theme of child abuse lingers and is there to underline the overwhelming importance of all that is happening – common or garden-variety unabused loneliness is, of course, nowhere near dramatic enough – but the drama fails to absorb this theme, or to do justice to it. The movie has its moments of soap-opera excitement, but it has all the substance of a teenage strop, and none of the energy.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, thursday 4 october 2012
Let’s start with saying that I don’t agree with the review of Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian. In the original review the writer blames one of the characters of not recognizing the song of David Bowie. I found it rather refreshing and endearing that they search the title of the song. It is the year 1991, the characters are allowed to be ignorant of some things, they didn’t have access to the internet yet and young people still wrote letters and made mixtapes in that time.
The reviewer says that the movie does not do justice to the theme of child abuse. I totally disagree with that. It only becomes clear at the end of the movie that Charlie, the main character, has been abused when he was a child. For me, that puts the whole movie in a whole new perspective. I like the fact that you only know the complete situation at the end of the movie. Because like that you still think about the movie afterwards and you try to find signs of child abuse in the rest of the story. I hardy ever think about a teen movie after I see one. But this one has depth and made me think about it even days after I saw it.
The movie is filled with so many different characters that it is impossible not to relate to one of them. Especially because everybody has experienced how it is to be a teenager, and how it feels to grow up. There are some cheesy elements in the script, for example the characters think that everything is infinite. I found it naive, but then I thought of the time when I was their age and realized they captured exactly how I thought back then.
The cast was amazing. You can clearly see that all the actors are also friends in real life. There is a great chemistry. I can’t say anything bad about the acting performances. I did not saw the movie ‘we need to talk about Kevin’ but the character that Ezra Miller plays in this movie is everything but disappointing to me. The character moved me. He was not like a ‘typical gay friend’ like in so many other teen movies. He was sincere and his battle for acceptance is shown in the story.
The film is based on a bestselling novel, athough I did not read this book. I like that Steven Chobsky, the writer, was completely involved in the making of this movie. He was the writer, the director and the producer. I am sure that this was a big influence on how the movie turned out. I think that because of Chobsky the story remained pure, honest and in some way simple.
I thought the movie was inspiring and beautiful. It made me laugh and cry at the same time. The story lingered in my head for some time and ‘heroes’ from Bowie was on repeat on my playlist. This tells me that the movie is captivating. It was nice to feel like I was in high school again. You can sit back and relax while watching the movie but the movie can also make you wonder. That is why this movie is so great. Somebody recommended this movie to me, and I would definitely recommend it to somebody else.