From Novel to the Silver Screen: "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment
September 11th, 2012

From Novel to the Silver Screen: "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

-- Based off of the 1999 epistolary novel of the same name and written by Stephen Chbosky, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is sure to be a movie that captivates all who love to cheer for the underdog. Stephen Chbosky wrote the screenplay and is also directing the film, so anyone who loves the book can be sure that the film adaptation will not stray far from it. Stephen Chbosky is not new to the film industry. He is the creator and director of the TV series "Jericho," as well as the screenwriter for the film adaptation of "Rent," which was nominated for numerous awards.

In the novel, Charlie is an incoming high school freshman who is dealing with the suicide of one of his close friends and with the feeling of being misunderstood by everyone around him. The story is told through a series of letters telling about Charlie's high school experience, showing how Charlie finally makes friends with two seniors, Sam and her stepbrother Patrick, how he experiences the real world through his newfound friendships, and the pain and complexity that can go with relationships.

Pop culture and literature lovers will find unending references to some of their favorite books, songs, television shows, and movies. For example, there are references to Simon and Garfunkel, the Beatles, U2, Smashing Pumpkins, and numerous bands throughout the film as Charlie is discovering the music that he has been missing out on his whole life. There are also references to "Dead Poets Society," "The Producers," "The Graduate," as well as an extended account of Charlie's "Rocky Picture Horror Show" experience, which is a scene that is sure to be entertaining in the film.

The novel has often been banned by school systems, so the film will undoubtedly give rise to some controversy. Charlie's experience as he develops throughout the novel includes experimentation with drugs and alcohol, and the film touches on the issues of homosexuality and the oppression of it that is found all too often in schools. These issues, as portrayed in the development of Charlie, often cause some parents to worry that their child will be influenced negatively by the story.

Aside from all the controversy, the film is sure to be a fantastic hit, due in part to its impressive cast. Harry Potter fans will be absolutely thrilled to see Emma Watson, Hermione in the Harry Potter films, cast as the confident and fun-loving Sam, who befriends Charlie and introduces him to a whole new way of life. Charlie, the protagonist, is played by Logan Lerman, who has previously been in "3:10 to Yuma" and "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief." Lerman is taking on a tough role by playing the socially awkward, reclusive high school freshman, but after recently proving himself as an actor, this could be his breakout role.

Paul Rudd plays a caring, friendly, and literature-savvy English teacher named Bill. Charlie is greatly influenced by Bill and the books he recommends for Charlie to read, including "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac, "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger, "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau, and many more. Departing from his typical role as the wacky oddball, Paul Rudd is stepping into a unique role, which should be exciting to watch.

The part of the lovable and eccentric Patrick, Sam's stepbrother, will be played by Ezra Miller, who is slowly coming onto the scene of acting. Having had his first major role last year in "We Need to Talk About Kevin," Ezra Miller is going to be an actor to watch for in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." His character lacks concern for social stigmas and teaches Charlie what it truly means to live all through a quirky way of interacting with the people around him. Ezra Miller should fill this role perfectly and really be fun to watch.

Overall, this film is one that will merit at least a few rounds of applause from people in the theater when the credits roll. Charlie is loved by everyone who watches him, and the hardships and revelations he undergoes will bring tears to quite a few viewers' eyes. However, the film seems to highlight more of the lightheartedness and comedy than the book highlighted, so viewers of the movie can be sure that the entire movie will not keep them in tears. This film seems to have it all and will keep you on a roller coaster of emotions throughout the entire 103 minutes.