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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

February 27, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Actors: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller

Perks of Being....

Synopsis: Charlie (Logan Lerman) – a teenager with a history of depression – dreads his upcoming freshman year at high school. To his pleasant surprise, Charlie is able to make friends with a group of eccentric seniors, and meets an inspirational English teacher. The spectre of those seniors moving on though, and a repressed secret from his past, threatens to tarnish Charlie’s new-found confidence.

Review: Although I have strong misgivings about the way the film seems to conveniently shoehorn in a picturesque form of depression to lend a sympathetic tinge to its already dreamily-portrayed teenage lead, I still found the soft, humane air of this high school flick quite charming. I think I’ve become fed up with the prevailing trend for ultra-ironic, pop-culturally smug additions to this genre over the last decade, so The Perks of Being a Wallflower‘s earnest, romantic evocation of a teenager’s social blossoming and first love, proved a refreshing change.

Admittedly, there is nothing especially new about the film’s subject or themes, but it’s nicely and sincerely acted by its central trio of Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, and Paul Rudd gives a pleasant turn in the familiar role of the quietly inspirational English teacher. I found the tape cassette retro moments predictable, especially for their love of all things ‘cool’ and ‘British’ such as The Smiths, Bowie etc, and as mentioned earlier, the tragic revelations of – huge spoiler alert – Charlie’s best friend committing suicide, and his aunt molesting him when he was younger, are inorganic and exploitative tools designed to lend Charlie a ‘victim’ status and curry more favour for his character. That aside, this is a gentle ode to the first stirrings of confidence and maturity in a painfully shy young man. (February 2013)

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