Many moons ago (like, many MANY moons ago, wow is this post overdue), after Sword Mistress tracked down the one theater in Atlanta playing the movie, she and I, along with Captain Awesome and our friend M, went to see the must anticipated (at least by us) movie version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I remember reading this book when it first came out and loving it, but I hadn’t read it since. This is mostly due to the fact that I loaned it out to someone about ten years ago and never got it back. (FYI: Don’t be that person. Return books.) Happily, my local library had many copies, so I got to fall in love with these wonderful characters all over again.
(Another person you shouldn’t be? The person that passes up about fifteen perfectly good seats at Starbucks to come sit right next to me, the chick alone in the corner on her computer, and then proceed to have loud cell phone conversations. FIFTEEN OTHER SEATS.
Ahem. Sorry about that.)
This was going to be an analysis of how the book is awesome and the ways in which the movie did or did not stack up, but honestly, the movie was FANTASTIC. Seriously, one of the best book adaptations I’ve ever seen. It helped that the book is so short, meaning that there wasn’t much that needed to be cut. It also helped that author Stephen Chbosky was at the helm, both writing and directing it and pretty much making sure that his baby didn’t suffer in its transition to the big screen. The movie comes out on DVD on February 12 and the book is available pretty much everywhere, so here are five reasons why I think you need to pick up both and have yourself a Perks-fest.
1. The book is awesome. If you’ve never read the book, please go remedy that right now. It is one of the best books about life in high school I have ever read. For such a small book, Chbosky really digs into his three main characters and fleshes them out. It would be easy to shove many of the characters into the typical high school stereotypes, but Chbosky does an excellent job of sidestepping this and instead letting his little band of misfits shine as individuals. I won’t say too much about the story because if you’ve never read it, you really should go into it without knowing anything, but I promise it won’t be a book you forget.
2. The cast is awesome. Being the Harry Potter
nerds fans that we are, we were beyond thrilled to see Emma Watson in her first post-Potter roll. I’ll admit that she was not the picture I had in my head of Sam, but she did an amazing job of capturing the character and making Sam her own. But as much as I love Emma, it was Logan Lerman as Charlie and Ezra Miller as Patrick who stole the show for me. Both were amazing, and made me fall in love with the characters of Charlie and Patrick even more than I originally was. Lerman captured Charlie’s shyness and complexity so perfectly – there was an underlying layer of tension in everything he did, and yet you could see his big heart shining through the whole time. And Miller as Patrick was equally outstanding, conveying both the character’s charm and pain beautifully.
3. The supporting cast is awesome. In particular, Mae Whitman was just perfect as Mary Elizabeth, balancing a fine line of keeping the character real and sympathetic while still making her annoying enough that you understand why she’s not the girl for Charlie. Also, PAUL RUDD.
4. This scene. How could you not want to watch this scene?? Also, ALL THE MUSIC EVER IN THIS MOVIE. But yeah, this little dance number is basically the standard to which I am now holding every high school dance scene in every high school movie until the end of time. (It also may have been one of the scenes where Captain A, who has been known to leave the room during particularly awkward moments on The Office, buried her face in her shirt because she was in the middle of the row and could not physically leave the theater. Which makes me love it even more.)
5. “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” Hands down, one of my favorite lines from any book EVER. Is there any line that more perfectly captures the feeling of being sixteen?
So go read it! And watch it! And then come back and we can talk about our feelings and sob together.