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Perks of Being a Wallflower Movie Versus Book

In: Film and Music

Submitted By courtneyleia
Words 2205
Pages 9
Courtney Vargas
C. Abbott
English 102
May 2, 2013 The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Which is better, the movie or book? Being nominated for awards from groups such as Toronto International Film Festival, Writers Guild of America for Best Adapted Screen Play, and Detroit Film Critics Society for Breakthrough Artist, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor, and winning Independent Spirit Awards for Best First Film and Boston Society of Film Critics for Best Supporting Actor, it is no wonder that The Perks of Being a Wallflower is described as a “heartfelt and sincere adaptation that is bolstered by strong lead performances” (Rotten Tomatoes, 2012). Just as far as the movie goes, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a story to remember.
Stephen Chbosky is not only the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower book, but is also the director of the movie. Taking place in the early 1990s, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a story of a teenager who is starting high school and his experiences through his freshman year. Charlie, the protagonist, is a loner entering high school and shortly after entering his school he essentially gets adopted into a group of smart, outcast seniors. His two best friends in the group Sam and Patrick, “seniors, stepsiblings, and self-defined misfit toys” (Chaney, 2012), give Charlie the time of his life his freshman year meeting new people through parties, football games, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and trying new things that most high school students get to do like have their first love, drugs, and feeling “infinite.” Having also directed the movie, Chbosky did not make any significant changes to the story. Not many differences were prominent comparing the movie to the book to fit into a nearly one hundred minute movie. Stephen Chbosky did a great job with the movie, as he did with the book, for being a near brand new director in the director’s world.
Charlie, our “melancholic teenager who has endured his share of sorrows” (Dargis, 2012) played by Logan Lerman, begins the story in both the movie and book with him writing letters to an anonymous friend who he believes will listen to his story. He goes on to talk about his best friend dying suddenly of suicide and the depression it has put him in. Unlike the movie, Charlie frequently regresses to the time of his friend’s death and wallows in the book. Upon meeting Sam, Patrick, and their group of nonconformist seniors, played by Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, Charlie begins to be more relaxed about high school. When adopted into their clique, the “friendly and lovable” (Ebert, 2012) Sam becomes Charlie’s first high school crush. Ezra Miller’s dominating and hilariously funny role of Patrick quickly eases Charlie out of his comfort zone to “outgrow his depression and dorkdom, and is eerily likable in his closed off way” (Ebert, 2012). A key difference between the best-selling novel and film is Charlie’s personality. Chbosky’s book proposed Charlie to be depressed and struggling to wallow with him. For Chbosky’s movie, Charlie seems to be bolder and takes charge of certain situations in the movie like taking care of Sam studying for her Scholastic Aptitude Test and the scene when she is ready to leave for college. His character evolved more in the book, where in the movie his character grew, but not quite as significantly.
Ezra Miller’s character Patrick was a huge hit in the movie compared to the book. Throughout Chbosky’s book, Patrick was portrayed only through Charlie’s eyes as a wildly funny and unique individual. In Chbosky’s movie, Patrick is a hilariously outgoing character whom everyone enjoys. It is not surprising that Miller receives the award for Best Supporting Actor by the Boston Society of Film Critics for his “mesmerizing” (Gleiberman, 2012) role of Patrick. Miller’s character as Patrick had a great likeability factor throughout the movie from pulling a “pink tool” senior prank to overcoming a first love as he is hated in school for being gay, bringing “texture to his witty if sensitive gay quipster” (Dargis, 2012). We see his character overcome many obstacles and still come out shining throughout Chbosky’s movie.
Characters in the movie such as Ponytail Derek were present in the book, but they were unnamed. Ponytail Derek and Charlie’s sister’s scene in the movie where he hits her in front of Charlie was extremely downplayed compared to the way it was portrayed in the book. This scene in Chbosky’s book revealed a little bit of Candace, Charlie’s sister, and Charlie’s relationship which was another hardship for Charlie. In Chbosky’s movie, Charlie and Candace’s relationship was virtually perfect for a brother and sister where in the book their relationship became rocky. This scene of Ponytail Derek hitting Candace not only puts her and Charlie’s relationship on the rocks, but their parents get involved as well. This scene in the book becomes a relationship Charlie needs to build back up in his high school years, learning from mistakes he has previously made.
Another character not given much credit to in the movie, but given much credit in the book is his English teacher, Bill Anderson, played by Paul Rudd. In Chbosky’s book, Charlie’s English teacher becomes one of his most beloved friends and helps him through hard times. Bill provides Charlie assistance at times such as when he witnessed his sister being hit by Ponytail Derek. Bill called Charlie’s parent to let them know. This is what led to Charlie and Candace’s crumbling relationship in the beginning of his freshman year. Their relationship is important throughout the book which was lessened in the movie. However, if one has not read the book, this is not so much of a key fact. Roger Ebert declared “if [one] is too popular in high school, [one] may become so fond of the feeling that [one] never finds out who you really are…Why is it that English, drama, and music teachers are most often recalled as our mentors and inspirations? Maybe because artists are rarely members of the popular crowd” (2012). Ebert provides an excellent point about these types of teachers in general and emphasizing Bill’s character in the movie in Charlie’s eyes.
Overall, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a dark book. It provides its audience with some highlights, but we never really know the truth to all the darkness until the close of the book. We follow Charlie throughout the book and movie on how he is haunted by the death of his Aunt Helen from when he was a child. This gives the plot of The Perks of Being a Wallflower “some heavy territory…that make this darker addition to the teen-movie genre than the uninitiated may be expecting” (Chaney, 2012). Chbosky gives the movie, just like the book, a “matter-of-fact approach to the more harrowing aspects of adolescence- depression, homophobia, suicide, domestic abuse- without sounding maudlin or preachy” (Buckwalter, 2012). These challenges that Charlie and other characters overcome is what sets this movie apart from others is how their stories makes the audience feel.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower had many great reviews, as well as some not so good ones. However, the general consensus of the movie seemed to be related to how it made the audience feel. Numerous reviews that were published boasted about how Chbosky had the movie “succeed at the most important element in any film about that bumpy path from pubescence to adulthood: he makes us feel young” (Chaney, 2012). Chbosky is praised over and over again by critics such as Roger Ebert, Ian Buck Walter of The Atlantic, Jen Chaney of The Washington Post, and Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly of how Chbosky lets the audience connect with the movie and book. Chbosky put together this film that gave its audience “moments…of genuine sentimentality and waves of nostalgia through interaction between sound and image” (Buckwalter, 2012). This also played into The Perks of Being a Wallflower’s movie soundtrack. The Perks of Being a Wallflower had a soundtrack that takes its audience back into their high school years. With the soundtrack featuring songs such as “Asleep” by The Smiths, “Low” by Cracker, and “Dear God” by Xtc, it brings adults all back to the 90s and feelings of reminiscence over the times (Imdb, 2012) and introduces young adults to the emotion-laden alternative music. Other songs featured on the soundtrack such as “Heroes” by David Bowie makes most of us feel infinite just like Charlie, Sam, and Patrick did in the movie. However, “Heroes” was not the song that made these three feel infinite like the book. In Chbosky’s book, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac made these three feel infinite. Having read the book, “Landslide” was a better fit to the feelings because this song dealt with growing up and growing apart, something that everyone feels at one point in their life or another. The lyrics really connect to Charlie when singing “Can the child in my heart rise above? Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life?” (Nicks, 1975). “Heroes,” on the other hand, pertained more to just Sam and Charlie. David Bowie sings “I, I will be King. And you, you will be queen” (1977) directly relates to Sam and Charlie’s relationship. Overall, the soundtrack to The Perks of Being a Wallflower “plays a vital role here and even manages to expand the appeal of the book” (Buckwalter, 2012). The soundtrack just adds to the list of right doings Chbosky did in order to make the movie.
Another point critics made across the board was how well Stephen Chbosky did at his freshmen attempt at being a full-length film director. His only other experience making a movie was a short, indie film made seventeen years previous to The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Buckwalter, 2012). Critics from all over proclaim this movie “seems like the work of a much more experienced director, maintaining fidelity to the source material without sacrificing any cinematic qualities” (Buckwalter, 2012). Chbosky does not stray far from the book’s material and is able to produce a great movie. Roger Ebert argues “no one who loves the book will complain about the movie, and especially not about its near-ideal casting” (Ebert, 2012). Buckwalter, of The Atlantic, pointed out Chbosky “managed to turn his powerful written words into a powerful movie…by respecting his book’s storytelling conceit without being confined by it” (2012). He also adds I that Chbosky “[embraced] film’s unique ability to evoke emotions, and by enlisting a pitch-perfect crew of actors” (Buckwalter, 2012). Multiple movie critics remark on his keen ability to get the right actors and actresses for the job. Chbosky fits in “the usual cinematic points of view, by way of Charlie’s eyes, voice and flashbacks, but also ubiquitously hovering camera [and] the results are likable” (Dargis, 2012). Chbosky’s directing and casting abilities succeed in the eyes of its audience and its critics.
With all aspects considered, The Perks of Being a Wallflower was not only a successful, best-selling book but a great, relatable movie. Critics around the world raved about how Stephen Chbosky did a fantastic job for directing one of his first films. It shows through his numerous cinematic points of view through Charlie’s eyes in the movie and the exquisite casting of characters. Through Charlie and his friends’ problems and the journey to overcoming those problems, anyone can relate and go back to their past lives in high school. For the book, it was geared to young adults with its description of high school experiences that most us are going through or have been to. The movie was geared to young adults and older with its older soundtrack and nostalgic scenes. It is difficult to have a preference for either the movie or the book because they are equally as good and equally as enjoyable. In conclusion, according to well accredited movie critics and a large audience, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a respected, work of art.

Works Cited
Bowie, David. “Heroes.” 1977. Hansa Studios. Mp3.
Buckwalter, Ian. “How ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ Breaks an Old Filmmaking Curse.” The Atlantic, 21 Sept. 2012. Web. 8 May, 2013.
Chaney, Jen. “It makes you feel so young.” Washington Post, 28 Sept. 2012. Web. 11 Apr. 2013
Dargis, Manohla. “An Introvert Finds His Way Though Teenage Terrain.” The New York Times, 20 Sept. 2012. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.
Ebert, Roger. “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.” Rogerebert. Chicago Sun Times, 2013. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.
Gleiberman, Owen. (2013). “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly. 19 Sept. 2012. 11 Apr. 2013.
Imdb. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) Soundtracks.” Imdb. Amazon. 2013. Web. 8 May 2013.
MSN. (2013). “The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Awards & Nominations.” MSN. Retrieved from
Nicks, Stevie. “Landslide.” 1975. Reprise Records. Mp3,
Rotten Tomatoes. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.…...

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Outsiders, Compare Book and Movie

...Sixteen years after a sixteen-year-old wrote this book, Francis Ford Coppola turned this novel into a movie. The book is a coming-of-age novel, but the movie focuses on the characters' loss of innocence. The movie follows the story line very closely. The reader is only told that this story takes place in the southwest, but the movie places it in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the year 1966. It also changes the conflict from the East Side versus the West side to the northside versus the southside. This minor directional change was probably made due to the relative time proximity to the musical West Side Story, which won the best picture Academy Award in l961. However, as with all movies, character insight that is critical to understanding the story is lost when the format goes from the written word to the screen. Ponyboy is telling us the story, the same as in the book, but the 91-minute film only glosses over many character relationships. <a href=";navArea=CLIFFSNOTES2_LITERATURE;type=Lit_Note;kword=SE_Hinton;kword=The_Outsiders;contentItemId=139;tile=3;sz=300x250;ord=123456789?" target="_blank"><img src=";navArea=CLIFFSNOTES2_LITERATURE;type=Lit_Note;kword=SE_Hinton;kword=The_Outsiders;contentItemId=139;tile=3;sz=300x250;ord=123456789?" width="300" height="250" border="0" alt="" /></a> With the exception of Ponyboy, the viewer misses out on knowing most of the novel's characters. Darry and......

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