The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Movie vs. Book

So, I just got the DVD yesterday without seeing it in theaters, considering my theatre wasn’t even playing it D: But, to put it short, I’m really glad I bought it 🙂 I just finished watching it, and I’ll give you my overall critique.

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For those of you who haven’t read the book, let me first tell you how it was formatted. The book is entirely consisted of letters, and you get a feel of that in the movie when Charlie is narrating in the background, starting with the “dear friend.” We never find out who this friend is, but no matter! We get into Charlie’s head a lot, and I’m glad they had that aspect in the movie as well.

Now, considering this is a book to movie adaptation, I actually wasn’t too disappointed with it. It portrayed the overall spirit of the novel as a whole. Of course I’ll get nit picky later, but overall, I must say I really enjoyed it.

Charlie was casted well, although his character traits in the book were different. Again, I’ll go into that in a moment. They hit the most important plot points, and covered the most emotional moments, and for that I’m so, very thankful.

Overall it’s a very inspirational movie. It’s not just another high school movie, there’s emotions there that are much deeper than that. In it you don’t see a story of teenagers, yet a story of someone trying to just live, trying to understand and be loved, and wanting others happy.

So, I’m going to list positive and negatives here, comparing the movie to the book. I’ll mix it up as I go, so I’m not fully slamming it or bowing down to it in one instance 🙂

-The English teacher was casted well. I enjoyed their relationship, although in the book, of course, there was much more there. I’m sad that Charlie never told him about his sister getting abused by her boyfriend, which in turn goes to the parents to know. That plot point was missed, but if they had to take anything out, at least it’s that. I could manage without that, although it really hurt Charlie for his sister to ignore him.

-Overall the mood was right. It wasn’t too sad, and it wasn’t overly happy to a point of Disney. Just right in between. Which reminds me…

-I loved how the scene with Charlie is portrayed when he finally loses control. He calls his sister crying and breaking down, and even before that I could feel his anguish that he tries to repress. It made me cry. A lot. And speaking of crying…

-Charlie’s character is much weaker in the books, and he actually cries a lot at moments that don’t seem necessary. I’m sad this character trait was left out in the movie. In the books we more clearly see that Charlie is a very sensitive person, and hurts a lot more with the little things. Also in the book he’s seeing a therapist, although he never says why, partially because he doesn’t know himself. He always talks about Patrick and Sam to the therapist, while the therapist wants him to talk more about his family or Aunt Helen. Only in the end did he understand why.

-Speaking of, I like (although sad), how the movie portrayed what his Aunt Helen did to him. It was just enough to make the audience understand, but not too much to seriously freak them out. The book did the same, and that aspect I enjoyed. P.S. if you didn’t get what she did, his Aunt Helen molested him. Charlie has obviously shoved this in his subconscious to a darker place.

-However, another point I’m sad about. When Sam and Charlie fully enjoy their kiss near the end of the movie, Sam actually starts to undress in the book. Well, and undress him as well. She starts to pleasure him (being honest here in what happens in the book), and although Charlie admits how good it feels, he actually starts tensing up. And, pretty quickly, he starts to cry a little. It was then that he realized what his mind was trying to repress, what his Aunt did to him, and I’m a bit sad that was left out in the movie. It was a very emotional scene, to say the least.

-Relationship with Mary-Elizabeth was well portrayed. Didn’t last too long, and Charlie was quickly honest about it in both the book and movie. Well done.

-Relationship with Sam, overall, felt right. However, in the beginning of the book, Charlie admits he has a “special” dream about her b/c he felt bad he imagined that without her permission (isn’t he cute?), and Sam laughed before saying, “Don’t like me in that way, okay?” And from then on he felt he wasn’t allowed to like her more than a friend, although he did anyway. It made their kiss that much sweeter, when Sam says that he shouldn’t have listened to her, and just let himself feel. Sad that aspect wasn’t in the film.

-I know not everything can be in the movie, but still…I miss Charlie’s personality. It was actually quite humorous at points! But since it was mainly inner narration Charlie was having, it’s hard to transfer that to the big screen. Still miss his funny comments…

-Patrick and Brad were well portrayed as well. I enjoyed them. But just as a side note, Patrick wasn’t supposed to be so obviously gay. Oh well!

-Charlie and his dad’s relationship didn’t exist in the movie. However, in the book it was quite interesting. I say this because Charlie mentioned one scene with his dad, how he caught him crying in the kitchen once. He told Charlie to keep it a secret, and Charlie always felt a bond from that moment, like it’s okay to let go sometimes.

-SUPER glad they kept a majority of the good quotes in there. And the ending was beautiful, I love when movies inspire me…

Hope you all enjoyed the movie as well, and if you haven’t read the book, then I highly suggest you do. It’s very well written, and it’s such a wonderful story. Charlie is a very relatable character, especially for all of us wallflowers ❤

Keep reading, and keep on watching those book to movie adaptations!

-Sara R.

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