Sunday, 7 April 2013

Film Review: "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" (2012).





"We are infinite."
These three words sums up The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This coming-of-age comedy-drama film. An adaptation of the 1999 epistolary novel of the same name, written and directed by the novel's author, Stephen ChboskyThis is about 15-year-old Charlie, an endearing and naive outsider, coping with first love, the suicide of his best friend, and his own mental illness while struggling to find a group of people with whom he belongs. The introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors, Sam and Patrick, who welcome him to the real world.

Originally John Hughes, who read the novel, attempted to write a screenplay after he got the rights from Chbosky. However, he never finished the screenplay. Hughes was going to use the project as a directorial comeback with a more dark comedy style with dramatic elements. While writing the screenplay, he had in mind Shia LaBeouf as Charlie; Kirsten Dunst as Sam; and Patrick Fugit as Patrick. Mr. Mudd Productions (Juno (2007)) became interested in the project and sought out Stephen Chbosky to adapt the film. The producers hired Chbosky to write the screenplay and to direct the film. In May 2010, actors Logan Lerman and Emma Watson were reported as in talks for the project and were confirmed the following year. In April 2011, Mae Whitman signed on as Mary Elizabeth and Nina Dobrev was cast as Candace. Paul Rudd was cast as Bill later that month. In May 2011, Kate Walsh announced that she was cast in the film as Charlie's mother. The film was shot in Chbosky's native home of Pittsburgh from May to June 2011. Initial filming began in Pittsburgh's South Hills, including South Park, Upper St. Clair, and Peters Township High School. The Rocky Horror Picture Show scenes were filmed at The Hollywood Theater in Dormant, where Chbosky had seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show there when he was younger. The film also has scenes within Pittsburgh city limits inside the Fort Pitt Tunnel, Fort Pitt Bridge on Interstate 376 and on Mount Washington.

The films stars Logan Lerman as Charlie, Emma Watson as Sam, Ezra Miller as Patrick, Mae Whitman as Mary Elizabeth, Paul Rudd as Mr. Anderson, Nina Dobrev as Candace Kelmeckis, Kate Walsh as Mrs. Kelmeckis, Dylan McDermott as Mr. Kelmeckis and Melanie Lynskey as Aunt Helen. The cast gave spectacular performances, especially the three leads. In an interview with LAYouth.com, author Chbosky said that he wrote the book for personal reasons, but realized that many people related to it while reading the book's customer reviews on Amazon.com. For the three leads, they did the best job in translating the characters from the page to the screen and were able to make us relate to them on the screen as much as we did on the page.

Unlike those shrill, hard-sell teen comedies on the other screens, The Perks of Being a Wallflower never becomes the kind of empty, defensive snark-fest that it targets. Chbosky and the three leads keep the organic pace of the novel, and its empathic exploration of painfully changing teen world. I wanted to hug this movie. It takes such a risky journey and never steps wrong. It creates specific, original, believable, lovable characters, and meanders with them through their inconsolable days, never losing its sense of humour.

Simon says The Perks of Being a Wallflower receives:


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