Adapted from: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller
Release date: October 12, 2012
I saw this movie way back when it came out. At that time, I had not read the book, but I absolutely loved the movie. So when I saw the book at Half Price Books last summer, I bought it, but didn't get around to reading it until May this year. So if you want to read my very spoiler-filled review, go HERE. The short version is that I really didn't like the book very much, but I still love the movie.
Yes. I like the movie better than the book. GASP. However, this is an interesting situation because Stephen Chbosky actually wrote and directed the adaptation of his own book. So I don't feel as bad.
First off, let's talk about casting. I think that everyone is cast perfectly. Logan Lerman is the perfect Charlie, able to be adorable and charming, yet extremely awkward and vulnerable at the same time. Ezra is so completely Patrick that I truly couldn't imagine anyone else embodying the role. Emma Watson is actually a pleasant surprise, because having read the book, she is not the first person I would have associated with that character by far. But it is because of Emma that I even really like Sam at all. Film-Sam is ten times more sympathetic and understandable than Book-Sam. It's her performance, more than anything, that actually made me root for a potential relationship between Sam and Charlie.
The relationships between Ezra Miller, Emma Watson and Logan, as well as their relationships with the rest of the cast, feel so realistic and raw. Mae Whitman, Johnny Simmons, and Nina Dobrev are great additions, as well.
If you've read my book review, you'll know that one of my biggest issues with the story is the way it piles on "issue" after "issue." The book features physical abuse, sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, abortions, homophobia, depression, rape, and drug use. And many of these things only happen to side characters, or are mentioned in passing. The reader is hardly given enough time to truly care about one issue before it introduces another. It's too much.
Thankfully, the movie effectively fixes that problem. Many of the subplots from the book are cut out of the film and/or condensed.
Now here's my main reason for preferring the movie over the book: Charlie, our main character and narrator. In both the book and the movie, Charlie is described as "intelligent beyond his years," and one of his teachers even expresses his belief that Charlie could be a great writer, all of which is much more evident in the movie. (Read my book review for more thoughts on why it wasn't believable in the book.)
Also, without going into major spoilers, I will say that Charlie's voice and actions make much more sense to me in the movie. Film-Charlie acts more his age, even while obviously dealing with past trauma. Charlie, as a character, is more fleshed out and developed in the movie, and feels like a real person. Book-Charlie feels more like a front for the big "issues" to be discussed, rather than a three-dimensional character. Film-Charlie is someone to understand and root for, while Book-Charlie is someone to be pitied.
And that is the real difference between the book and the movie, at least in my opinion. Because the book is told entirely from Charlie's letters, the story is told in a very straight-forward manner. And because of Charlie's problems, the way he reacts to things is slightly detached and immature. So when I read the book, I felt detached from the emotions. It didn't really impact me in a big way.
In contrast, the movie hits me where it hurts. I cry every time I watch it. The acting, the cinematography, and the script are all top-notch, and it makes for a really fantastic movie.
Tell me: have YOU seen OR read The Perks of Being a Wallflower yet? What did you think about either the movie, the book, or both? Let me know in the comments below!