Director and writer Stephen Chbosky brings us this beautiful and touching coming-of-age drama about friendship and love in the real world. Not only is it cinematically stunning with some stellar performances but the soundtrack is fantastic!
It’s not explicitly mentioned at all, but the film is set in the year of 1991 to 1992. You’d have to be blind and deaf not to realise since the music, technology and fashion is cleverly chosen to represent the era and it has a subtle and believable 20th century feel. Aesthetically it’s possibly one of the best films I’ve seen in a while; I was totally enthralled from the start and all the way through I wanted to laugh out loud and cry at the same time.
In my opinion any film that makes you feel emotional is a good one. If it moves you in some way they’re telling the story well. On more than one occasion I found myself with a lump in my throat for no particular reason other than that the characters are so likeable and so real that I could completely relate to their situations. Underneath the surface, each character has a deep history that makes them even more accessible. We can relate to and empathise with them, they become almost a part of ourselves and that’s what makes it so moving.
There’s something so enthralling about coming of age drama’s when they’re done well, and ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ blends comedy with touching drama perfectly to create something tasteful and beautiful instead of brash and comedic. The performances are excellent, Ezra Miller and Logan Lerman in particular give great performances. Emma Watson is also very strong but struggles with the American accent at times.
I love the subtle aesthetic hints at the era, choosing not to go for the blatant and stereotypical, which would have detracted from the overall beauty and the enchantingly slow pace. For me the soundtrack is one of the best parts of the film, on a biased note David Bowie is my favourite artist and ‘Heroes’ is one of my favourite songs, but that aside the music isn’t stereotypically 90’s, it’s not cheesy and has clearly been carefully considered. Each track fits with the mood of the film at the time and it’s not intrusive; it subtly compliments what’s going on on-screen.
The tunnel scene for me is the best scene in the film, it’s so touching and beautifully shot (and the music is great!) It’s probably also one of the most poignant parts, the film focusing around the idea of how at the time and in the moment ‘we are infinite’. Emma Watson’s character Sam says the song is the perfect tunnel song, the tunnel a metaphor for their infinity, and what better lyrics to emphasise this than “we could be heroes, just for one day”? There’s something calming and beautiful about the shots of Emma Watson’s dress billowing as they drive through a very nicely lit tunnel that makes it such a charming visual metaphor for the freedom of adolescence.