by Katie Kenerly
Thirteen years after its publication, Stephen Chbosky’s poignant coming-of-age novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, was finally adapted into a film and released in September of 2012. With the SUT still broken, the lecture hall in Gailor provided the theatre in which it was shown on Saturday, Feb 9. As I settled in to see the movie for a second time, I thought back to the book that I loved and the reasons it has earned such a cult following. Perks is a story about growing up and the often-overlooked hardships of adolescence, a theme which speaks to many people, and one which Chbosky presents flawlessly.
Logan Lerman plays Charlie, the shy and almost Holden Caulfield-esque protagonist, who is struggling to participate in life and transcend his reputation as a “wallflower.” Lerman, Ezra Miller, and Emma Watson are just part of the all-star cast (which also includes Paul Rudd, Dylan McDermott, and Mae Whitman) that makes the movie so wonderful. However, the film could not have been such a success without the masterful guidance of author Chbosky, who served as its writer, director, and producer. Thanks to Chbosky’s involvement and the incredible cast, this film leaves absolutely nothing to be desired, especially in the opinion of diehard fans of the book.
It seems only fitting that as I write this gleaming review, I am listening to the album “Louder than Bombs” by the Smiths, Charlie’s favorite album by his favorite band. Throughout Perks, Charlie is fixated on music, because it causes him to feel things that he otherwise would not, due to his state of limited emotions. Perhaps the only thing better than the film itself is its soundtrack, because hearing each song that is significant to Charlie brings the story to life in a new way. Hearing these songs, rather than simply seeing their titles on the page, creates a much more personal experience. These songs define Charlie’s life, and they tie the movie together perfectly.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is and will remain one of my favorite books and films, because on some level, everyone can relate to Charlie. At some point in their lives, everyone has felt like a wallflower. In my opinion, the reason that Perks has been such a success is because it is so relatable. Chbosky truly captures the essence of the adolescent struggle and what it means to participate in life. If you have not seen the film or read the book, I highly recommend both. Although somewhat clichéd at this point, Perks is filled with invaluable lessons, the most important of those being that “we accept the love we think we deserve.”