TIFF REVIEW: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

September 10, 2012 16:10:53 Posted at September 10, 2012 16:10:53
Dan Posted by Dan
Photos:
Jerod Harris/Getty

I have to begin by confessing that I have not read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. And I can safely say that I regret letting it slip through the cracks. Because if a movie this good came from a book, I can only imagine how transformative that book must be. 

As a movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower will go down as one of the great coming of age classics. That has a lot to do with the fact that Stephen Chbosky, the author of the novel, chose to write and direct it. You can feel the love that went into it – his attention to detail, making sure nothing rang false. And trust me, there were many points at which it could have.

The story of a troubled, lonely boy who gets a new lease on life after meeting a group of exciting new friends could have easily fallen victim to cliché. But instead, it inspired.

Chbosky achieved something so many films strive for but often fail at: cutting to the core of teenagehood with honesty; capturing those all-too-familiar adolescent feelings of isolation and insecurity with grace and respect - much like the films of the late, great John Hughes; and like many of Hughes’ movies, I not only believed in this story, I related, I cared and I felt.

I felt for every perfectly realized character that was brought to life by each and every shining performance. Logan Lerman embodies Charlie with the skill and conviction of a veteran actor.  I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to Timothy Hutton’s award winning performance in Ordinary People. He’s that good. And will no doubt become a household name. Emma Watson’s strong, absorbing portrayal of the free spirited Sam proves once and for all that she has successfully stepped outside the shadow of Hermione Granger. But the real scene-stealer here is Ezra Miller who plays the flamboyant Patrick like a dancing volt of electricity. He lives and breathes this character and the result is magnetic.

I felt for every pulsating act due in large part to the fact that Chbosky let his scenes breathe, giving his actors room to create really exciting, deeply affecting moments - a rarity these days considering most movies treat their audiences like they have the attention span of a kitten.

And judging from both the laughs and sniffles I heard coming from a room full of jaded critics, it was quite clear that this movie resonated in a big way. I walked out of the theatre feeling both waterlogged and comforted. Somewhere deep down the inner angst-ridden teenager in me felt like somebody finally understood. For an hour and forty-five minutes this movie buried itself deep, gripped my heart and refused to let go until the final credit rolled. And for that I am grateful. 

Attached - the cast of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower at the after-party on Saturday night hosted by vitaminwater.