The Perks of Being a Wallflower (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
February 5, 2013 by Dennis Amith
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is fantastic film, wonderful adaptation of Chbosky’s novel and great casting. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller have wonderful chemistry and it’s a coming-of-age film that I highly recommend!
TITLE: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
FILM RELEASE: 2012
DURATION: 103 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition,1:78:1, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Espanol Dolby Digital 5.1, Subtitles: English, English SDH and Espanol
COMPANY: Summit Entertainment
RATED: PG-13 (Mature Thematic Material, Drug and Alcohol Use, Sexual Content Including References, and a Fight – All Involving Teens)
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Directed and written by Stephen Chbosky
Produced by Lianne Halfon, Russell Smith
Executive Producer: Stephen Chbosky, Jim Powers
Associate Producer: Ava Dellaira, Chris Gary
Co-Producer: Gillian Brown
Music by Michael Brook
Cinematography by Andrew Dunn
Edited by Mary Jo Markey
Casting by Venus Kanani, Mary Vernieu
Production Design by Inbal Weinberg
Art Direction by Gregory A. Weimerskirch
Set Decoration by Merissa Lombardo
Costume Design by David C. Robinson
Logan Lerman as Charlie
Ezra Miller as Patrick
Paul Rudd as Mr. Anderson
Emma Watson as Sam
Dylan McDermott as Father
Kate Walsh as Mother
Johnny Simmons as Brad
Nina Dobrev as Candace
Nicholas Braun as Ponytail Derek
Julia Garner as Susan
Melani Lynsky as Aunt Helen
Mae Whitman as Mary Elizabeth
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is based on the wildly popular novel by Stephen Chbosky about a freshman named Charlie (Logan Lerman) who is always watching from the sidelines until a pair of charismatic seniors takes him under their wing. Beautiful, free-s pirited Sam (Emma Watson) and her fearless stepbrother Patrick (Ezra Miller) shepherd Charlie through new friendships, first love, burgeoning sexuality, bacchanalian parties, midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the quest for the perfect song.
I feel infinite.
In 1999, American novelist Stephen Chbosky would write the coming-of-age novel “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” which was published by MTV.
Considered a modern classic and having received a cult following, over a decade later, Mr. Mudd Productions (producers of the film “Juno”) approached Chbosky (who had gone on to write for and produced TV series such as “Jericho” and “Rent”) for a screen adaptation of his novel. Produced by John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith, the producers also hired Chbosky to direct the film.
And by 2011, wanting to find the right cast for his novel, actors Logan Lerman (“3:10 to Yuma”, “Percy Jackson & the Olympians”, “The Number 23”) and Emma Watson (“Harry Potter” films, “My Week with Marilyn”) were the first to confirmed talent to play the characters of Charlie and Sam.
The film would be released in the fall of 2012 and garner positive reviews from film critics. Earning many nominations and winning “Favorite Drama Movie” and “Favorite Drama Movie Acterss for Emma Watson” for the 2013 People’s Choice Awards.
And now, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Summit Entertainment.
The film begins with Charlie as the narrator, writing his first novel, presented by letters in which he writes to an anonymous person known as “Friend”.
Charlie begins his freshman year counting the days until he graduates. Shy, not talkative but also trying to recover after his only friend, Michael, had killed himself. While his older sister Candace (portrayed by Nina Dobrev, “The Vampire Diaries”, “Chloe”) in high school is dating a guy known as “Ponytail Bob” and old classmates not wanting to be near Charlie, he is often bullied at school.
While his parents (portrayed by Dylan McDermott, “The Practice”, “In the Line of Fire” and Kate Walsh, “Private Practice”, “Grey’s Anatomy”) think that their son is extremely shy, they try to talk to Charlie and prepare him for school, but in truth, Charlie feels he can’t lean on his parents for help. He tries to get close to his sister
Charlie loves to read books and if there is anyone that appreciates and understands him at school, it’s his teacher Mr. Anderson (portrayed by Paul Rudd, “Role Models”, “Knocked Up, “I Love You, Man”). But in his shop class, he often sees the class clown Patrick (portrayed by Ezra Miller, “City Island”, “After School”) getting in trouble by his teacher and being designated the nickname “Nothing”, which tends to stick on him, as the entire class calls him by that name.
We are often shown images of a past featuring Charlie which revolves around his aunt Helen, which he cares for and used to visit him. But one day she was killed in a car accident when he was seven. But why he has these flashbacks of her is not known quite yet.
Meanwhile, Charlie decides to go to a football game alone. He hears Patrick screaming and decides to sit next to him. The two begin to talk and they are later by Patrick’s step-sister Sam (portrayed by Emma Watson). Immediately the three become friends and they take Charlie to their home to experience his first real party.
And while Charlie is getting used to the fact that he has new friends, he is introduced to the punk/Buddhist Mary Elizabeth (portrayed by Mae Whitman, “Independence Day”, “Parenthood”) and goth/wealthy teen but yet likes to steal, Alice (portrayed by Erin Wilhelmi, “Gossip Girl”).
When Charlie is introduced to drugged brownies for the first time, everyone can’t help but be fascinated by Charlie as he becomes more talkative. But when he talks to Sam alone, he reveals how difficult life has been for him since losing his friend, Michael.
Touched by his story, Sam tells Patrick about how Charlie had suffered and together, everyone in the party salutes Charlie and welcomes him to the Wallflower group and Sam tells him, “welcome to the land of misfits”.
And Charlie’s life changes as he becomes good friends with these people.
And as he spends more time with them, they introduce him to a life that he has never had before. From taking part in a school dance, listening to mix tapes of cool music and being free, loving Sam’s taste in the Smiths and Morrissey and just having friends, not being judgmental of their past but accepting how they are.
But Charlie quickly learns that Patrick is a homosexual guy who is dating the captain of the football team secretly. He learns that Sam has a sexual past with many men older than her that started at the age of eleven. But he doesn’t care, he accepts them for the way they are.
If anything, just their companionship means a lot to them and even though he has fallen for Sam, who is dating a guy in college, he still accepts and believes in her.
But as he gets closer to his new friends, flashbacks of his Aunt Helen start to come to his mind. Images of something bad that he has locked up in his memory for all this time.
And after making a bad decision, with his new friends, life for Charlie may never be the same again.
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality is good, a little soft at times but for the most part, the scenes are well-lit and detail is very good. From the scenes of Sam standing on a truck going through the freeway tunnel, to the group enjoying “Rocky Horror Picture Show” or just hanging out at a friends house and having fun, the film looks very good in HD.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Espanol Dolby Digital 5.1. While dialogue and music is crystal clear, the lossless soundtrack is purely dialogue and music driven with a few instances of crowd ambiance being utilized in class, at the dance, parties, etc. But for a film like this, the lossless soundtrack was appropriate.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Espanol.
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” come with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary 1 – Featuring audio commentary by writer/director Stephen Chbosky. And discussing differences from his novel and the film version but also why he became a novelist.
- Audio Commentary 2 – Featuring a commentary by writer/director Stephen Chbosky, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Johnny Simmons, Emma Watson, Mae Whitman and Erin Wilhelm. A fun commentary with the group reuniting and showing how they had great chemistry on the set.
- Best Summer Ever – (5:00) Writer/director Stephen Chbosky discusses working with the cast and how he waited to make sure he had the right people for the cast. And the cast members talked about how they became great friends while filming this movie.
- Deleted Scenes – (23:11) A total of 12 alternate, extended and deleted scenes with optional commentary from writer/director Stephen Chbosky.
- Dailies – (7:04) Three dailies with optional commentary by writer/director Stephen Chbosky of why these three dailies mean lot to him. (includes Scene 43: Flies Through the Tunnel, Scene 52: Hammer Time, Scene 53: Five Friends at the Cafeteria).
- Theatrical Trailer – (2:27) The theatrical trailer for “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”.
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” comes with an UltraViolet code which allows you to stream from the cloud to your iOS or Android device. Also included is a Digital Copy which works with iTunes and also a slipcover case.
Typically, whenever I encounter a film that is made today and is set in the ’80s or ’90s, I roll my eyes, because for some reason, the director’s try too hard or seem to have forgotten the fashion or the music of that time period. And when it tries to focus too much on the pop culture of that era, it fails miserably.
But when I found out that “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, a popular novel by Stephen Chbosky, was being made into the film and was being written and directed by him, suffice to say, the film version was in good hands.
Having watched the film, I don’t know how thrilled I was after watching it, having grown up during this era and understand the music references but most of all, trying not too hard to be an early ’90s film but leaving it to the viewer to know when it was set, everything worked out perfectly.
But it’s the casting that let to the efficacy of “The Perks of Being a Wall Flower”. The three main talents in the film, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller were wonderfully cast. Yes, I know Time Magazine’s Richard Corliss was not too thrilled about 20-year-olds being cast as teenagers but for this film, these young talent look so young that they can pass as teenagers quite easily.
What I enjoyed about this film is that this is no perfect set of teenagers that live happy lives. These teenagers seem themselves as a group of misfits. Charlie is a teenager who is shy, always bullied, never had many friends but also a past that he is starting to discover through flashbacks in his mind.
But because he enjoys his friends, never was a judgmental person and takes things how the way they are, it’s what makes him special because he’s a genuine person that listens, cares despite being living a life of loneliness.
His friends Sam, is beautiful but also a person who wants to change her life around. Not being this girl who has reputation of sleeping around with men but when she meets Charlie, for the first time, a guy respects her and doesn’t care about her past or what life she had lived. He respects her for what she is now and it’s one thing that she has never experienced from a person.
And there is Patrick, the class clown, he does get into trouble a bit, but within his friends, he cares for them deeply. He also is a homosexual in a secret relationship with the quarterback of the football team.
And the things that these characters deal with and what makes them awkward and why they don’t fit in with the popular cliques but yet, they have their own group of wallflowers and it’s this friendship that keeps them going.
While I did have reservations of Chbosky directing the film (because his experience is writing for novels and television), there is no one in this world that could have brought this film to the big screen except him. Just listening to his audio commentary and the special features, things had to be right in this film. From the casting to overall chemistry and the vision he had for this film essentially came to life because the tone he set for his talent but also letting them live together during the filming of the movie and in that process, he realized he had something special.
From the supporting characters within the wallflower group to the adults featured in the film, he wanted a family atmosphere and in the end, he was able to get amazing chemistry from the young talent and this film shows how that chemistry works amazingly well.
And while the film does have its differences from the book, there were things added on this Blu-ray. For example, the poem that was featured in the book. Chbosky knew that the poem would not make it into the film, but he shot it anyway and included it on the Blu-ray. Scenes that involve Charlie’s parents to an extended scene of the prom photos. Chbosky knew that the young talent never experienced the prom before, because of their careers. So, he wanted them to experience the feel of a prom, photos and everything, for their benefit to have that experience.
Rarely do you see a filmmaker go all out for their talent like this, but he understood the chemistry of his young talent but also knowing things that fans of the novel would probably like to see on the Blu-ray, so, there are couple of special features plus audio commentary that fans of the film will enjoy.
And picture quality and the lossless soundtrack is very good on Blu-ray and for the most part, I think that fans of the film should be quite pleased with this release.
Overall, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is fantastic film, wonderful adaptation of Chbosky’s novel and great casting. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller are absolutely wonderful chemistry and it’s a coming-of-age film that I highly recommend!
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