Perks Of Being A Wallflower Review
November 12, 2012
The novel and film The Perks of Being A Wallflower has been a serious hit with young hipsters; does it live up to the hype? The amazing soundtrack and chemistry doesn't make up for the unlikeable plot reveal.
I first read Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower as a teenager at university. All the cool kids raved about it, and I was certain I’d love it just as much thanks to the endless music references. Despite having almost no recollection of the plot, unusual for a literature graduate like myself; I remember hating the way it was written. When attempting to reread it before the adaptation was released at the cinema, I had exactly the same feelings towards the narration style. Lazy, juvenile and unlikeable, it angered me that such a poorly written novel was so popular. Although it didn’t make me quite so angry this time around, I still didn’t get what all the fuss was about. Thankfully The Perks of Being a Wallflower is void of the painful narration that makes the novel so popular with the kids on Tumblr.
A coming of age story, The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows Charlie (Logan Lerman) throughout his first year of high school. Isolated and lonely, he eventually makes friends with Patrick (or “Nothing”, the fantastic Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson); stepbrother and sister and their oddball group of friends. Based on the novel by Stephen Chbosky, also the director; it captures the highs and lows of growing up.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed The Perks of Being a Wallflower for the most part. The soundtrack is superb (and thankfully features Charlie’s same love for Awake by The Smiths as it does in the book), the casting is fantastic (Miller especially), and the chemistry between the friends is more than believable. Still, it shares the unlikeable climax from the novel inevitably knocking the score down. At times beautiful, it is still nauseating in places. The often quoted “we accept the love we think we deserve” creeps in, as does “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite” (I hate to admit it; I enjoyed that one).
Thanks to the unlikeable reveal in the plot, I can’t see myself watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower again. The loneliness, isolation and struggle to fit in will appeal to anyone who has battled with popularity (or lack of it), taking solace in literature and music. As Little White Lies suggests; The Myth of the American Sleepover is a far less generic, more impressive and touching take on growing up.