Film shows accurate portrayal of high school, wows audiences


Sarah Christiaansen/Winonan

Said to be the “The Catcher In The Rye” of this generation, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a brilliant book.

This book, which I have read upwards of 20 times, is one of my favorite books. I connect with it, as many other people do, and find it comforting that someone could write exactly how I am feeling. So, I was leery of it becoming a movie. And when it did, I almost didn’t want to see it. A movie is never as good as its book.

In this situation, that wasn’t the case.

I fell in love with all 103 minutes of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” I hadn’t known, until the movie started, the author, Stephen Chbosky, directed it and wrote the screenplay. When I saw this in the opening credits, I lowered my cautiousness that the movie would flop.

An avid lover of the book, I knew many lines from it. And many of my favorite lines were in the movie. I blissfully quoted along during the film like I had seen it dozens of times. The storyline fit well with the book narrative. Many of my favorite scenes came to life almost precisely how I had imagined them.

Chbosky wrote a great book and a great screenplay.

The characters were also wonderful. I didn’t think “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” star, Logan Lerman, could actually pull off the awkwardness and wallflower-ness of the main character Charlie. From the trailer, it seemed like he was trying too hard to be uncomfortable and self-conscious.

He pulled it off effortlessly, however. I actually believe that Lerman was Charlie. Like he was always meant to play Charlie.

I was also doubtful of the casted actor of my other favorite character, Sam. As a fervent Harry Potter lover (okay, nerd), I wasn’t sure Emma Watson could break free from her Hermione Granger ties. I was wrong again.

Watson wasn’t Hermione. She was Sam. Although I’m not impressed with her American accent, she embodied every other aspect of the character, including how she looked. She did not wield Hermione’s frizzy, out-of-control hair, but instead a short pixie cut. I believed that she was the secretly crazy and unsure of herself character that Sam is.

This trio is completed with Patrick, who is played by Ezra Miller. I had never seen him in any other movie and was pleasantly surprised. He provided a comedic spin to the movie with snappy one-liners. His character wasn’t how I pictured Patrick, but I was again pleasantly surprised.

The other characters were well cast. Paul Rudd was great as Mr. Anderson and Johnny Simmons played Brad well.

Along with remarkable characters, the soundtrack gave me goose bumps. With the likes of New Order, Sonic Youth and David Bowie, the soundtrack fit the time period and the lives of the characters. Each song accompanied a brilliant scene.

I particularity liked the involvement of the song “Asleep” by The Smiths. This song was important in the book and I was glad, almost relieved, to hear it in the movie.

Overall, I wanted to be in this movie, which was a shockingly accurate portrayal of high school and the contrived drama that comes along with it. Although I would never wish to go back to high school, I found myself wanting to hold hands with Charlie, scream my lungs out riding in the back of a truck with Sam and come to Patrick’s rescue as he is beaten up for being gay. I wanted a teacher like Mr. Anderson to recommend me books and a friend like Mary Elizabeth to be angry all the time with. Most of all, I wanted to experience the one moment in high school where everyone finally figured out everything was going to be okay.

This is one of the only movies, besides “Fight Club”, that I have loved almost more than the book. I want to watch it over and over, every day of my life. I left the theater in tears and smiling. I didn’t know a movie could do that.

Until then, I’ll be spending my time re-reading “The Great Gatsby” for its premier in December. I’m keeping an open mind.

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