The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been my one of my favorite books ever since I read it back in freshman year. It's funny, it's different, it's heart-wrenching, and it's real. The characters are so true to real-life beings, that I can almost feel their emotions in every situation in the book. Perks was created into a film, and it was released on September 26, 2012 here in the Philippines. I had the opportunity to watch the movie today, and I thought that it would be great to talk about the similarities and differences it has with the novel, as well as the positive and negative remarks I had about the adaptation! If you haven't watched the movie yet, I suggest you don't read the latter part of the post, unless you are willing to be spoiled!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Novel)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower was written by Stephen Chbosky, and it was published in 1999. It revolves around "Charlie" (this may or may not be his real name), who starts off the novel by writing a letter to an anonymous person. The novel goes on as Charlie writes to this person, telling him/her about his life as a freshman high school student.
Charlie, a socially awkward introvert, starts his freshman year, and he feels like no one notices him. He's recovering from the tragic accident that just happened, wherein his only good friend Michael committed suicide. His family doesn't seem to understand him the way his Aunt Helen does, and she too has passed away. Feeling alone and misunderstood, he starts to blend into the crowd and doesn't want to be seen. That is, until Sam and Patrick came along.
Sam and Patrick are step-siblings, and as seniors, they introduced Charlie into the real life of high school. He's put out of his shell, and throughout the novel, he strays away from being a wallflower and tries to live life the way he should be. As he's introduced to parties, drugs, and the common high school scene, he starts to fall in love with Sam. He meets new friends, experiences new things, and he finds himself in the process.
In my opinion, this book is a teen classic. Even if it's written in 1999, it applies to today as well. Charlie develops throughout the book, and you can see how true he is to himself. He sees things his way, and the way he perceives things is just so natural. Everything is seen in a different perspective because of his innocence, and the characters in the novel don't impose their personalities on Charlie, they're molded because of him. It's like they carry out his youthfulness.
The Sam-Charlie-Patrick friendship made this book a great one. Charlie, a loner, was welcomed into the circle of friends, who are all loners themselves. In a way, their experiences are intersecting with one another, and they get what it's like to feel that way. I love how Charlie is so easily accepted, and how through all the heartbreaks, triumphs, tragedies, and enlightened moments, they're there for each other every step of the way.
"It was the kind of kiss I could never tell my friends about out loud. It was the kind of kiss that made me know I was never so happy in my whole life." — Charlie
"But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there." — Charlie
"And I think everyone is special in their own way. I really do." — Charlie
"Things change and friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody" — Charlie
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Novel)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (film) was directed by the novel's author, Stephen Chbosky. The film stars Logan Lerman as Charlie, Emma Watson as Sam, and Ezra Miller as Patrick, the three main characters of the book.
The film stays very true to the book, and all the scenes you expect to see are there. It's wonderful to see this, since not much movie adaptations of famous novels stay true to the book, most probably because they want to up the entertainment appeal. Sometimes, it's unfortunate that the scenes fans are most excited to see on the big screen are the ones cut out from the film. Not this one, for it follows the book scene per scene. It's portrayed really well, it's complete, and the essence and impact the novel had was not lacking in the film.
Logan Lerman was an amazing actor. He portrayed the awkwardness of Charlie really well, and the emotion seen during his breakdown moments was flawless. He captured Charlie to a tee, and it fit him really well. We all know that he is a good looking man, and this movie transforms him into this awkward yet adorable teenager; he will be a hit with the ladies for sure. The chemistry between him and Emma Watson was undeniably there, and to see the two main characters gel together so well is a great key factor to any movie. Not to mention that they're the two hottest stars in film today, what more can you ask for?
My favorite character in the movie is Patrick. Ezra Miller is just so funny, so characteristic, and so uplifting. He made me smile throughout the movie with his antics, and the way he just portrays Patrick is just perfect.
To me, the movie did the book justice. It was exceptional, and it truly showed the reality of adolescence, love within a group of friends, injustice and tragedies, and being accepted. It's funny, it's witty, it's real life. The actors add more depth to the characters, and whilst many movies attempt to give off the vibe that Perks does, nothing can compare to the quality this movie brings.
One of my favorite scenes in the book is the tunnel scene, where Sam stands on top of her moving pick-up truck, listening to the "tunnel song", with her arms wide open. This is where Charlie concludes one of the most famous lines of the novel, "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite." The movie exceeded my expectations, and I got goosebumps watching it.
I do encourage you all to read the book first before watching it, because then you can really compare and see for yourself if it was up to par or not. I believe that the movie is definitely worth watching as well, and with Logan Lerman as the lead, how can you not?