Release date: September 21 (limited) / October 12, 2012
Runtime: 1 hr. 42 min.
MPAA rating: PG-13
I think this is the first time ever (at least in my reading and watching experience) when the movie is better than the book. I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower a week before the movie came out and I was really having second thoughts about watching it since I didn't enjoy the book as much as I expected to. Maybe if I had read it back when is was published in 1999 I would have liked it more, but I didn't and the language was killing me with its simplicity. Isn't Charlie supposed to be some talented future writer? If so, shouldn't his letters have better language than those of an average 14 year old? I understand that this was written for a your audience, but I still thought there could be more than just "I went here and this happened and then I did this" kind of writing. Enough about the book, however. This is supposed to be about the movie.
The story translated to the screen incredibly well and the adjustments that Stephen Chbosky made worked great. The parts of the book that didn't make into the film didn't really change much and a few things that were added definitely helped the movie flow better. The dialogue felt very natural and, while maintaining the expected slightly melancholic tone, had a lot of witty moments. The film really pulls the viewers in: there are so many things to relate to, as every character has a unique story and everyone watching is bound to see glimpses of their own youth in those stories. I think the fact that Chbosky wrote both the book and the screenplay, as well as directed the movie played a huge role in how good it turned out: he pretty much got to write a revised version of the original work and retell the story to a new generation, making slight changes to maintain the balance in an on-screen format.
The cast was fantastic as well: Logan Lerman has come a long way since Percy Jackson, Emma Watson keeps breaking out of her Hermione Granger stereotype and Ezra Miller blew me away (who is this guy and how is it that I missed every single thing he was is before this?) What was especially impressive to see is how such a young cast suddenly took turns into very dark emotional places and the contrast of that with young lighthearted moments was truly heartbreaking to watch. The supporting actors deserve a whole lot of compliments of their own - most of the people involved managed to bring a unique personality to the film.
I absolutely recommend "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" to everybody. It is not cheesy. It is not a chick flick. It is not a tear jerker. It is a great coming-of-age story told brilliantly through a lot of talented people and it is definitely one of the best films I have seen this year.