The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Abigail Weinberg

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, based on the 1999 young adult novel of the same name, is a relatable coming-of-age movie about a socially-awkward freshman named Charlie, played by Logan Lerman of Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Two seniors, Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), take Charlie under their wings and introduce him to a partying, Rocky Horror Picture Show watching subculture that changes his life. All the while, Charlie battles the haunting memories of his troubled childhood and his dead Aunt Helen.

Stephen Chbosky is the author of the book from which the movie was adapted, and he is also the screenwriter and producer of the movie. “The way the book was written in the letters, it left a lot to be expanded upon,” explained sophomore Gillian Weaver. “I think they did a really good job with that.”

The indie movie has a film-grain quality and the acting appears raw and spontaneous, eliciting raving reviews from some movie critics. Others, in their negative comments, seem to have forgotten what it was like to be a teenager.

Perks is a mature movie, shamelessly incorporating such topics as drug and alcohol use, suicide, sexual abuse, mental illness, and homophobia. It originally received an R rating from the MPAA due to “teen drug and alcohol use, and some sexual references”; this rating was lowered to PG-13 due to “mature thematic material, drug and alcohol use, sexual content including references, and a fight – all involving teens.”

The controversial aspects of the movie are what set it apart from other teen films. Unlike the Glee series and Mean Girls, Perks portrays high school as it really is, hitting a nerve with adolescent viewers. It is refreshing to see a movie about a teenager without the glorification that so often accompanies such films. Viewers don’t cry at Perks because of some fake romance gone wrong; they cry because they are faced with a movie that feels very real and very true.

Serious as the movie can be, it is laden with jokes and heartwarming moments. The soundtrack also helps to ease the story along; I had Asleep by the Smiths stuck in my head for the rest of the evening.

Taking the train intoBostonto see the movie with two of my girlfriends and no adult supervision felt like a coming-of-age story in itself. Although the ten minute walk from South Station to the AMC Loews theatre at the corner of Essex and Boylston is not the most daunting of trips, it felt fitting for the movie we were going to see.