In the most basic definition of a coming-of-age story or film, it is the transition of a young person from childhood to adulthood. Of course, there can be different forms of this category of film because not everything is ever going to be exactly the same as the last, but for “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, it matches that basic definition pretty closely all on its own. For those of you that aren’t fans of coming-of-age like me, fear not, for this movie somehow did a lot of it right.
Logan Lerman, formally seen as Percy Jackson, plays Charlie, our main character in this tale about life. He is a bit of a loner. He has no friends, doesn’t have any real drive to make an impression in school, and continually counts down the days he has left until he graduates from school. He is very intelligent, but his past traumas and low self-confidence hinder him from growing the way he should. That’s when he befriends Patrick (Ezra Miller) and his step sister Sam (Emma Watson). All three of these teens have different personalities, but Charlie is fascinated and wildly attracted to Sam, who helps him learn more about the joys in life and the importance of taste in music.
The movie is a coming-of-age film in every sense of the word. There really is no goal other than trying to see if this kid can finally be happy with life or if he is doomed to be in that debilitating state of sadness. That’s the thing about these kinds of films, it’s not the characters that have a goal, it is the people behind the camera. They are the ones trying to convey a message, and for the most part, movies like this are iffy to critics like me. However, I truly believe they did this one right. The reason why I think it did so well is because of the characters.
The characters were very well written. From the start of the movie, audience members everywhere will find it incredibly easy to connect with his character. Too many of us have felt alone and isolated from the world, seemingly watching it as it zooms past us, never thinking we’d ever catch up, doomed to remain in the same state for eternity. They were able to capture that in Charlie’s character so well. As for the friendship with Sam and Patrick, that was also written intelligently. Too many times do we have friendships forming in movies that are simply a reflection of the personality of the main character. This movie showed us that people can have their own personalities that seem to be polar opposites, and it proved that friendships can exist anywhere with anyone. It seemed more real in that regards.
Don’t forget that a good majority of the shots in the movie were expertly filmed. It looked fantastic most of the time, with some scenes that stuck out among the rest. Whoever was in charge of cinematography knew precisely how to capture the idea of the movie into the look of the film. It works in almost every sense. The acting was phenomenal from every actor, specifically from Logan Lerman, who has acted miles around his performance as Percy Jackson just three years ago. Ezra Miller did a great job playing a genuine gay male, and the message that the movie spread about his life and what he personally goes through is beautiful and true to life. It is always nice when a movie throws in a side story that may not be perfectly needed for the overall plot, but adds to it nicely when it is there.
It is hard to even say very many bad things about the movie, but if you try, you may end up saying that maybe the movie felt slow, maybe others won’t connect with it as much as you did, maybe they will find a lot of clichés in the film that you didn’t catch. Maybe it just won’t mean anything to others, but in the end…professionally speaking, this film was done very well, and it at least deserves to be rented.
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” comes to Blu-Ray and DVD on Feb. 12!