The Perks of Film Adaptations

There is a main line of discussion that follows after watching a movie that was based off of a book. Typically people will discuss how much it strayed from the book, what it left out, and what it added. They will discuss whether or not the movie felt like the book in spirit. A generally common response is that books are better than their movie counterparts. In many cases it is probably true, but sometimes, the opinion differs. In the case of the beloved coming-of-age story about a young boy named Charlie who enters high-school for the first time, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a faithful movie adaptation starring Logen Lerman as Charlie and Emma Watson as Sam. The movie was directed and written by the very author of the book, Stephen Chbosky. Mr.Chbosky had previously written for television and film with the movie version of Rent and the television series Jericho. He had not been known for directorial endeavors and “Perks” appears to be his first major film creation. His artistic talent carries over well, because it so happens that the movie is quite faithful to his original masterpiece. “Perks” is one of those rare cases where you can love the book and the movie at the same time. There is no need to compromise between these two forms of the same story.

In a grand sense, the movie follows the book plot point for plot point. Of course, Chbosky could not realistically fit every line, every event, every feeling, every cry, and every thought into a two hour movie, yet he does a great job of keeping the essential themes that fans of the book could identify with. In seeing the actors portray the characters the emotions from the book actually came through. In afterthought, it feels as if the movie forced specific lines from the book, but felt good while watching it. It was essentially fan-service in a good way. In some aspects the movie had an edge over the book. For example, the type of music that Charlie talks about in the book can actually be heard in the movie. The musical part of the book gave me a better sense of the impact it played for Charlie. It is probably prudent to mention that the movie glazes over some of the more sexual parts of the book to favor a PG-13 rating, but aren’t removed entirely, and it still plays the important role in the movie that it did in the book.

If you loved the book, you will love the movie. If you loved the movie, you will enjoy the book. Furthermore, if you have never heard of either, both of them are good on their own and are both enjoyable and worth experiencing, so you should go out and read the book or watch the movie. I recommend experiencing both. A lot of the time those that enjoy literature will say that they prefer the books; The Perks of Being a Wallflower is without a doubt a pleasant exception to the rule by having a good book made into a good movie. In this case, neither book nor movie is the wallflower.


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