REVIEW: ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ explores finding one’s true self, overcoming stereotypes


Courtesy Lionsgate Productions

Staff Writer Tisya Singh writes that ‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower’ encourages embracing differences between one another.

Tisya Singh, Staff Writer

Finding yourself isn’t always easy, but the movie “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” based on the novel by Stephen Chbosky, shows that with the right people, and music, it is possible. 

Charlie Kelmechis (Logan Lerman) just wants to fit in. He’s a lonely freshman dealing with the suicide of his best friend along with his own mental illness. He befriends a senior named Patrick (Ezra Miller) from his shop class and his stepsister, Sam (Emma Watson), and viewers can quickly see that Charlie isn’t the average “bookworm.”  

Following Charlie throughout the year, we watch him make new friends and discover his true self, slowly beginning to leave his depression behind. The film’s unique take on the story of a friendship shines a different light on cliché high school movies in a way that viewers can relate to. 

The term “wallflower” refers to someone who is introverted and tends to stay socially distant even at large gatherings. Patrick uses this word to describe Charlie, but as the title suggests, it is a compliment. This statement accurately captures the movie’s theme of accepting one’s true self and finding happiness within it. Viewers will find they can empathize with many of Charlie’s experiences and can’t help but root for him. 

Although the film was released in 2012, the characters prefer to live as though they are in the ‘90s by dressing with a vintage look. Music is a huge part of the film as it is what unites the characters and pulls together the ‘90s vibe. Charlie, Patrick and Sam bond over retro music which, like them, is different from what was common at the time. There are also multiple parts of the movie where music is used to represent the spirit of the characters and express their personalities. 

The characters’ abilities to embrace their differences and live life to the fullest are contagious. Patrick and Sam are able to teach this carefree lifestyle to Charlie and soon he is one of them. His mental illness begins to improve as he is now a part of a friend group and feels accepted in that community.

Viewers quickly fall in love with the fun spirit of these characters and also feel that they can relate to them. In most teen movies, “outcasts” just want to fit in, but Charlie, Patrick and Sam find similarities in one another and are able to enjoy life’s every moment. 

There is more to high school than stereotypical “jocks” versus “nerds” personalities. Often it’s about friendship and finding oneself. Instead of fitting into a stereotype, sometimes, we just have to create our own.