The Perks of Being a Wallflower Book and Film Review
The book written by Stephen Chbosky follows 15 year old protagonist Charlie who has trouble socially, due to a troubled past that is revealed throughout the novel. He is writing letters to an unknown recipient, talking about his life in freshman year in high-school. He deals with unrequited love, sexuality, drug use, and mental health throughout his first year at high school. Unrequited love for his senior friend Sam, along with sexuality in the form of Sam’s step brother Patrick, who is going out with Brad, a closeted homosexual on the football team. Charlie also has his first encounter with drug use as he trips on LSD to be cool and mental health through the effects of his best middle friend committing suicide and his aunt dying in a car crash.
The film adaptation starring as Logan Lerman as Charlie, Ezra Miller as Patrick and Emma Watson as Sam, follows closely to the book as is also directed by Stephen Chbosky. The only major differences are Charlie teacher has a bigger role in the film. As in the book, he is mentioned as is supportive towards Charlie, but it never talks about his teaching style. Having Paul Rudd play the teacher though, obviously, the teacher was going to have a bigger role. Charlie’s sister being abused by boyfriend doesn’t play as a major point, although it is shown in the film. In a way, a major change is the tunnel scene where Sam stands up, as the song they are listening to is changed from Fleetwood Macs Landslide to David Bowie’s Hero creating a whole new meaning to the word infinite. The film also had Imagine Dragons Its time which was awesome.
Both book and film are worth visiting as they deal with social issues everybody goes through during their adolescents. The book and film holding that nostalgic feeling but also that cringe-worthy moment of when you were younger. An example being, when Charlie is dared to kiss the prettiest girl in the room. Charlie sitting with his girlfriend Mary Elizabeth, played by Mae Whitman, chooses not to kiss her and kisses Sam instead causing everyone to resent him. It shows the perils of being a wallflower as he lying to himself in when he said yes to going out with Mary Elizabeth. Later, when he reveals his true feelings to Sam as she is leaving, she berates him for not acting earlier. The Perks of Being a Wallflower are being very good at observing things in a social situation, taking everything in the conversations around during you, allowing you to be able to judge things more rationally. Thus linking in with Carl Jung‘s theory of introversion/extraversion. Charlie portraying introversion as Patrick shows extraversion in dealing with life. Overall this book is good coming of age book, like the book The Wanderers by Richard Price dealing with taboo subjects and dealing with the trials you face when growing up.
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