By Sharon Knolle
Although The Perks of Being a Wallflower was written in 1999, its themes of teen alienation, fitting in, and bullying are as relevant as ever. Now the best-selling novel by Stephen Chbosky is a critically hailed movie with a solid cast consisting of Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, and Nina Dobrev as misfit teens who bond through their love of music. It’s even being heralded as “The Breakfast Club for a new generation” by FOX-TV.
Chobsky wrote and directed the film adaption himself, but it wasn’t an easy road to the screen. Watson told Anderson Cooper, “No one wanted to fund it. I think it’s because it’s the real deal. It doesn’t put a gloss on any of the real issues of growing up.” The Harry Potter star met with several studios to plead the film’s case and it finally found a home at Summit Entertainment.
Miller plays her screen brother, gay teen Patrick, who fights back in a scene where he’s bulled in the school cafeteria. As he told Cooper, “To have a character in literature who stands up for himself and is not defined by his sexuality, but is defined by his personality and his love for his friends was refreshing.”
“I totally consider Patrick a role model. I admire him greatly,” Miller, who previously starred as a seriously disturbed teen in We Need to Talk About Kevin, told Moviefone. “The wholesome method of survival—that relief and that joy and that love he’s been able to keep for himself, he can then share it with his chosen family, with the friends he loves.”
Watson also fell in love with her character, Sam, a chic senior who takes shy Charlie (Lerman) under her wing. As she told ET, “She’s a true unique. I’ve never read about [anyone like] her before in literature, I’ve never met her in real life. She’s truly original and true to herself and so spontaneous and such a free spirit and I just loved her.”
Of Charlie, a freshman who’s still reeling from a friend’s suicide, Lerman says, “There’s a lot of universal themes in there, at its core it’s really a film about finding yourself, becoming comfortable with yourself and who you are as a person.
“There’s themes I think anyone can relate to, anyone who’s been to high school, anyone who’s remembers finding them-self, growing up.”
AV Club reviewer Alison Willmore calls the film “An earnest, big-hearted ode to friends as support and salvation, and to the talismanic quality a favorite song, treasured hang-out, or shared tradition can take on for a teenager.” Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly agreed, raving, “Graceful and beguiling! An ecstatic expression of the beautiful solidarity of youth.”
Find out where The Perks of Being a Wallflower is playing near you.
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