I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower for the first time when I was a sophomore in college. My roommate at the time, Katarina, introduced me to the book and since it was one of the first novels that I read (in English) purely out of pleasure, it made quite an impression on me. I re-read it a couple of times, I even fantasized with a group of friends about acquiring the rights from MTV. Nothing came out of that, but, last night with much anticipation and some regret for moving right before Summit Entertainment started scouting in Pittsburgh, I went to see the film.
If I wouldn’t have known that Stephen Chbosky wrote the screenplay and directed the movie himself, I would have walked out of the theater feeling a little cheated; as if I was really loving my ice cream but half way through I found out I was having frozen yogurt instead. This book is incredibly visual and it invited me to paint a distinct picture of the main character, Charlie, which was nothing like Logan Lerman’s interpretation of him. Fortunately, it worked. The mood was spot on and obviously there is no question that everything you see on the screen is an accurate reflection of the story printed on the page.
The movie is showing now in theaters so I don’t want to spoil it. What I can tell you is that if you decide to watch it you will be delighted with a subtle film that is classically made and a complex story that is delicately told. There is nothing extravagant about it, it didn’t scream 80’s or tried to rely on anything other than a really good story; it was tasteful. Of course, the mood was enhanced by a beautiful score and a fantastic soundtrack, but, ultimately the story is as relevant today as it was in 1999 when the book was published and it will continue to be relevant tomorrow. For me this is always a huge challenge for any artist and Stephen Chbosky nailed it, again.
There are moments in our life that mark us in permanent ways. It’s like my friend Clare said: we bury memories and one day something hits a nerve and makes us think “wow, that feeling is still there and I’m actually still really fucked up about it”. For some of us those moments live deep inside, guarded by fears, insecurities and maybe even a hint of possessiveness. For Charlie, those feelings are released when he feels infinite coming out of the Liberty Tunnels. Whatever they are for you, I believe this film will bring back emotions and hopefully allow you to appreciate them for everything that they are; full of pain, full of joy and full of life.
Two thumbs up for this film and for the entire crew. To me, it gets five (out of five) stars.