I had an idea for a new kind of post yesterday, for those short and sharp things we want to share without writing a full review. It might not be the most creative or snazzy title, but I'm going with "5 Things I Loved" posts for now.
I had the idea yesterday because that was when I went to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower at the movies, and I'm 99% sure that this was my favourite film of 2012. Here are the reasons why:
1. Just the right amount of faithfulness to the book.
Perks is directed by Stephen Chbosky, who happens to be the author of the novel and who also wrote the screenplay. This kind of thing doesn't happen often enough in Hollywood cinematizations (not a word, but I'm going with it) in my opinion. I can't really explain it as well as I'd like to, but the film remained absolutely faithful to the book, while acknowledging that a film is a film, and a book is a book. Different ways of telling a story use different techniques to tell it. That's okay.
2. Spot on casting.
I can't remember the last time I saw a movie that was as well cast as this one. Not once did I think that Hermione Granger had been transported from Hogwarts to early 90s America. Emma Watson was amazing as Sam. Logan Lerman, who plays main character Charlie, made my heart physically hurt. Ezra Miller was an absolute delight as Patrick, the friend who sees everything about everyone, and loves them more for it rather than less. All the actors were all so honest and true, I couldn't fault them.
|Image courtesy of vanityfair.com|
3. Very big actors took very small parts.
I always think that you can tell when a movie is going to be good when there are amazing actors in very small parts. Paul Rudd plays the English teacher, and Joan Cusack has a tiny role but still manages to bring her wonderful heart and distinctive voice (literally and figuratively) to it. I like to imagine they had heated conversations with their agents about taking these roles in which the actors said things like "I don't care! I'll do it for free! JUST GET ME IN THE DAMN MOVIE."
Sidenote: when is John Cusack going to do something good again? I feel like it's time that happened.
4. It is set in a specific time period, without being gimmicky.
The story takes place in Pittsburgh in the early 90s, but that wasn't a thing in the movie, you know? It wasn't like being hit over the head with a baseball bat while someone yells at you "WE'RE IN THE NINETIES. CAN'T YOU TELL? LOOK AT ALL THE FLANNEL AND HALF-HEARTED HAIR!!"
5. Charlie's family
All families have their own levels of dysfunction. It's just a fact of life. And while some very good books and excellent films have been made about this very issue, it doesn't have to be a theme in storytelling all the time, you know? Plenty of families still love each other, and care for and support one another, which is what happened in Perks. I particularly liked the way Charlie's siblings cared so much about him, and he for them. Special mention goes to the actress playing Charlie's sister, Nina Dobrev, who works her butt off on The Vampire Diaries and is a much better actress than I have a feeling people give her credit for. (Also, I almost just wrote The Campire Diaries - unintentional Freudian pun slip!)
Now, I don't often get gushy about stuff, so I think I'll stop now before I grow a new personality. But just go see it okay? And remember, it doesn't matter if you see the movie first and read the book second. Seriously. So read it too, okay?