Loving a book doesn’t necessarily mean the same love will be shared with the film adaptation But there is no guarantee that it will taint those fond memories either. You just got to hold your arms out and be prepared to take it all head on. No Country For Old Men or any of Tim Burton’s adaptations; where does The Perks Of Being A Wallflower fit in on the adaptation scale?
I’m incredibly fond of the book, it helped me out a great deal during my time at university, and was so worried about this film I was getting stomach cramps for a fortnight. The Perks fits the annoying indie film template to a tee, boy who doesn’t quite fit in with the world meets a set of friends who love wearing suits and listening to The Smiths. It works in book format because you can shift how it all looks to respectable levels, an indie film would just drag it all into the quirky corner and knock any worth out of the book, leaving the torn pages to crawl away into a gutter. But this adaptation handled by the author himself manages to avoid this, he shifts it into those respectable levels. Except when Emma Watson keeps going on about people having great taste in music.
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a tale of a young chap, Charlie (Logan Lerman). He’s quiet, enjoys reading and is a bit of a basket case deep down due to a bunch of tragic events that have taken place through his life. High school isn’t working so well for him, but it isn’t long before he gets cosy with the goofy Patrick (Ezra Miller ) and the lovely Sam (Emma Watson ) along with their diverse group of friends. But the diversity of each character is never over bearing. It’s believable and each actor looks the part, though Emma Watson isn’t quite how I imagined Sam. She has the Daniel Radcliffe effect.
The film follows the trials and tribulations of youth. Bad romance, awkward break ups, first experiences and painful yearning. The story doesn’t follow a tight path, perhaps avoiding Charlie’s troubled mind too much, but each scene captures something innocent, something free. When the drama kicks in, it kicks in with great effect, because we’ve seen all those idle moments of awkward dancing and aimless discussion between close friends.
It manages to ooze some of the raw emotion conveyed within the book, and seeing key scenes come alive with the good taste in music (I do agree with Watson here, they even stick in a L7 song!) and the soulful chemistry between each character leads to a collection of youthful cheer and tears. Though it is saddening to see some scenes absent from the big screen, ones which create an overall deeper picture to the way Charlie thinks and acts. At times he appears passive, distant, trouble-free. In the book everything was much closer, personal.
My stomach cramps have stopped and I feel like stepping on the back of a car, holding my arms out to take everything head on. But one question does remain; how do a bunch of music snobs not know who Bowie is?