The Perks of Being a Wallflower Resonates with Young Adult Audiences

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Resonates with Young Adult Audiences

J. Bramley/MCT

Simone Britto and Kate Wolffe, Staff Writer and Feature Editor

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the heartwarming story of a quiet freshman, Charlie, who is taken under the wing of two misfit seniors who expose him to a life he’s never known before and show him the pleasures and pains of growing up. Viewers experience the full rollercoaster that is adolescence in a mere 120 minutes. It’s jam-packed with troubles and drama – a classic coming of age story. While not an incredibly original premise, it is one that will resonate with viewers. Everyone can connect with Charlie’s struggles in one way or another.

Directed by Stephen Chbosky and based on his bestselling novel, the movie does not exactly match up to the perfection of the book, but still leaves the viewer feeling emotionally drained, emphasizing some important events while downplaying others. In comparison to the book, it is clear that Chbosky wished for the film to be more accessible to audiences. The raw scenes are still raw, but not as heart-wrenching as portrayed in the book. Whereas in the novel, the reader is left with a deep sense of catharsis, the film leaves something to be desired.

Words cannot describe the beauty of Charlie’s character, played by Logan Lerman. Chbosky creates someone who is simple and complex, heart-achingly sweet, but still susceptible to human failure, making choices and having to face the consequences. He sees and feels everyone else’s pain, and Lerman portrays this perfectly.

In Emma Watson’s first big role since Hermione, she easily and charmingly plays Charlie’s love interest, Sam, and in turn makes the audience fall for her too.

Ezra Miller puts a unique spin on the character of Patrick, Sam’s step-brother, and the typical class clown, who also harbors a deep secret that further enhances the story’s appeal to viewers.

Set in the 1990s, the grainy film style gives the production an instagram-y feeling that may not appeal to all viewers, but further captures the essence of the time period. The quirky dress and punky characters are hipster before “hipster” became a trend. They are characters desperately trying to flee from the conformity of the masses, yet  are unsuccessful in escaping their human nature and ability to hurt and be hurt in return.

Though not really a cautionary tale, the film does bring up some more serious aspects of growing up. Charlie, the picture of innocence, is introduced to alcohol and drugs by his new group of friends. He also struggles with deep depression that he cannot seem to overcome and does not understand the magnitude of, continually putting everyone’s lives before his own in an effort to make them happy.

Though overall Wallflower may be a bit cliché, the movie is worth seeing because the message, one of self-acceptance and discovery, is pertinent to the lives of most young adults today and viewers will be able to see many aspects of themselves in the cast of colorful characters.