In my incessant and often unforgiving adventure to watch as many movies as possible, it’s no surprise that the romantic drama genre of film sometimes coughs up the occasional gut puncher. A swift change in the formula that may come as either a pleasant surprise or a lukewarm appreciation of the genre. Do The Perks of Being a Wallflower have anything new to say?
What a shame it is that The Perks of Being a Wallflower stays in the tepid middle ground of both. Not daring to go the full drama route, nor is it willing to give up on the dark undertones it so desperately shoehorns in, the blend isn’t always the best but when it works it’s palatable enough to enjoy. There are times when the movie feels like every other piece of the genre, much like when I viewed The Edge of Seventeen and found that to be nothing but re-treading old territory. Luckily though, The Perks of Being a Wallflower does venture out of its own comfort zone from time to time, retreating often to throw in some useless subplots.
Great character development for a handful of starring performers helps though. Ezra Miller gives a solid enough portrayal as Patrick. Out of the main trio Miller receives the best writing and it’s nice to see that he capitalises on this with the best performance. Emma Watson puts on some strange American/British blend that irks me to no end, but it doesn’t always get in the way of a moderately good performance.
Logan Lerman is definitely the surprise of The Perks of Being a Wallflower though, with an excellent performance that somehow pales when compared to that of Miller. Lerman’s ability to connect with a multitude of characters and cast members is impressive. Especially for someone that hasn’t just appeared in The Butterfly Effect but also Percy Jackson and The Number 23. For such a lowly filmography, he really knows how to bring home a decent enough performance.
Director Stephen Chbosky has gone to extreme lengths to make sure his coming of age movie isn’t “like all the other coming of age movies”. Unfortunately, by doing so, he has set out to do what every director of a coming of age movie does, to make something that isn’t like the set standard of coming of age movies. What we get is results like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. A lot of stuff is thrown at the wall on this one and whatever sticks is used, regardless of whether or not it fits the whole tone of the movie or not.
Solid enough to recommend, but certainly not good enough to revisit. Good performances, but not memorable ones. There’s a lot going on for a comfortable hour and forty minutes of running time, so to see it all get somewhat expressed properly is a decent enough spectacle; however, spectacle isn’t a replacement for substance or style, with The Perks of Being a Wallflower not presenting much of either.