The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Book to Movie

by Amy Rice

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” written by Stephen Chbosky, is a coming of age novel. It introduces fragile topics and the charming, yet destructive life of a teenager named Charlie. Chbosky formats the book in diary entries, allowing the reader to get inside the mind and experiences of Charlie during his freshman year of high school. The individuality of this novel draws a lot of attention from teen audiences, and because of its uniquely realistic perspective, it is no surprise that the 2012 film “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” was an instant hit.

Typically, book to movie renditions fail to capture the essence of the book. However, this movie did the impossible. I attribute the successful portrayal of the original text to the fact that the screenplay was written, and directed, by Chbosky himself. He was given the opportunity to create the vision in his head and put it on the big screen.

Logan Lerman (Charlie) was inspiring, and he captured the perverse mannerisms and shy personality of Charlie. Like in the book, the film captures flashbacks  initially presented ambiguously to the audience. We eventually find out the traumatic event that Charlie experienced as a young boy and lead him to becoming a wallflower.

His first high school friend, his English teacher Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd) introduces him to literature that inspires Charlie’s creativity and consoles him while he struggles to fit in. He eventually befriends the charismatic Patrick (Ezra Miller) and beautiful Sam (Emma Watson), which ignites the beginning of his funny, emotional, and real journey through freshman year.

The book and movie covers Charlie’s  first experiences with drugs, girls, fights, domestic abuse, and love. The diary aspect of the novel is not lost in the movie, with Charlie’s voice overs narrating the diary entries that  Charlie types on his typewriter. Charlie’s perspective is never lost throughout the film.

Both the film and the novel are so strong they can easily stand on their own, but together they are truly a dynamic duo. Those who have read the book are dying to see the movie, and those who saw the movie, are now eager to read the book. Both effectively demonstrate Charlie’s loveable and quirky character, and the film cast was brilliantly selected, making it possible for these literary characters to come to life. Essentially, the film rendition could not have been more perfect, or a better representation of the original story about a teenage wallflower named Charlie.