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Arts Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

Film Review: Memories of teenhood come flooding back with film

Glistening with a relatable gravitation, a sincere emotionality, and an introspective psyche, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is guaranteed to reach out to anyone who has experienced the highs and lows of adolescent life. 

You ever recall the days throughout your adolescence in which you found everything about your life — identity, relationships, beliefs, place in the world, misfortunes — put through its paces prior to entering adulthood? I certainly do, and my yearbooks never cease to remind me. Through these tribulations we discover who we truly are and what we hope to achieve in the future, even though the path to that destination can be a problematic one to walk.

Such difficult trials do not only occur in real life; they are also of great importance to the people we encounter in the stories we created. Many notable titles — “The Catcher in the Rye,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” — bring to light serious subject matter not unlike what we have to confront in the realm of reality. I used to think teachers used those novels as instruments of torture, but looking back now, I realize they wanted us to understand ourselves through the eyes of someone else.

And that is exactly what “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” fulfills for the well-being of the human soul, never losing sight of what matters most to a teenager’s introduction to the adult mindset.

Based on the novel of the same name by Stephen Chbosky, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” follows Charlie (Logan Lerman), an endearing but introverted high school freshman who copes with his lack of friends and psychological issues. When two high school seniors, Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller) take him under their wing, he is introduced to the real world. As he navigates the upsides and downsides of his high school lifestyle with a new group of friends, Charlie finds himself coming to terms with his past.

This unpretentious gem beckons the moviegoer to delve into the many trials of Charlie’s life while touching base with their own memories. Regardless of social status or academic prowess, the film reaches out to recall the good times and bad times you experienced as an adolescent.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” exhibits profound respect for its characters’ tribulations, especially in terms of the three leads.

I liked how the film took its time for the audience to get to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each player while not sinking into melodramatic soap opera territory.

Whether it is joy or beauty or sadness that Charlie, Sam, and Patrick are feeling as they hang out together, their emotions are presented in a humble light that no teen drama television series can capture as a whole. Trust me, these characters feel very real.

Logan Lerman does not just play Charlie; he IS Charlie. Every gaze, every observation he makes, every conversation he starts, feels very much like his own. Emma Watson earns a perfect score for balancing Sam’s stylish, fun-loving side with her self-esteem issues.

I was uncertain whether Watson would break free from her long-lasting “Harry Potter” fame but she does so easily. Ezra Miller steals every scene he is in as Patrick, whose flamboyant wittiness conceals the insecurity he feels about his sexuality. I’ve got to say he sure knows how to get a crowd’s attention without going overboard.

Believe me when I say this: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is guaranteed to get in touch with your teenage memories and show you what it feels like to come of your age. Go see it.

4 out of 4

Where: Wide Release
When: Now playing
Run time: 1 hour 43 minutes
Rating: PG-13

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1 comment

Janelle September 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Logan Lerman, Paul Rudd, and Ezra Miller = three hot Jews in one movie.

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