Friday, 5 October 2012

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower poster

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
103 mins / Dir. Stephen Chbosky

When a movie opens with the titles set in a distressed-typewriter typeface, and an acoustic guitar over the top, you know you're in for a little bit of twee, a little bit of hipster, and… well, a whole lot of Twister™*1...

That pretty much sums the film up, and yet also woefully sells it short. It's everything the trailer makes you expect it to be, but it's so much more engaging than it lets on. All of the central characters are beautifully portrayed*2, and the story embraces emotion without relying on schmaltz to gloss things over. In fact, it's the twisting of the narrative that's the film's greatest strength. You don't love the protagonists in spite of their perceived faults, you love them because of them. It's not always a great idea for the writer of a novel to also pen the screenplay adaptation and direct the film, but in this case you get the impression that no-one else could have pulled it off as well as Chbosky.

As I've said, it's painfully hipster at times, with vinyl records, mix-tapes and Rocky Horror references all upping the kook-factor, but in the context of these characters trying to find themselves, it's part-and-parcel of the proceedings, and part of who you're watching. I had visions of Wallflower being hard work, but I'm very pleased to have been mistaken*3.

If you've ever felt like you can't quite fit in, this film is for you. I'm not sure how it'll stand up to repeated viewings, but I plan to find out.


Interested by the trailer? You'll love the film. If not, avoid.

*1Twister™. That's mine, but you can use it. You're welcome.
*2 Yeah, even Hermione, who failed to act as Hermione.
*3 That said, is it just me or is Joan Cusack slightly terrifying? I honestly had no idea where those scenes were going to go.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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