| || Perks of Being a Wallflower |
Dual Layer BD
1.78 Aspect Ratio in 1080P
Presented in AVC1, AWBR 38Mbps
I think everyone latches onto a film that speaks to them in some way. For my wife, quoting Pretty in Pink, etc. comes second hand. For me, I could quote almost every line from Harold and Maude. Whether they are quirky or serious, there is something about the films themselves that stand out to us. I always admire the big blockbuster but it is often a small film with a big heart that really captures my attention.
No film in 2012 did that as effectively as “Perks of Being a Wallflower”. From the moment I sat down in a theater to the time the film ended, I realized that I was watching something truly unique as a film. 2012 was full of great films, but there was something about Perks of Being a Wallflower that I kept circling back to when I would make out my list of the best films of the year. Months after making my “best of” list of 2012, I find myself wondering if I didn’t shortchange the film. Perks of Being a Wallflower falls into that category that is hard to explain – out of all the films I went to the theater for in 2012, there are very few films I have recommended as strongly, as wholeheartedly as Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Perks is written in a more poetic prose, designed to give us a feeling of being inside the heads of our protagonist. I found something particularly inventive in doing this; Charlie and his peers negotiate their situations with the life experience they have. There are no major bolts of genius and the kids don’t dig deeply into their own situations because they simply aren’t equipped to do so. A lot of films tend to empower their characters with traits that exceed reality in order to project some powerful meaning. My friends refer to it as scenes where someone yells “LOOK AT ME, I’M ACTING” or “NOW A 16 YEAR OLD IS THE DEEPEST THINKER IN THE WORLD!”. Perks of Being a Wallflower captures a far more realistic view of the world from a perspective of the kids who become friends.
I summed it up to a friend as: the Breakfast Club of this generation. So, when the Blu-Ray arrived for me, I took time to sit down and enjoy everything that I loved about Perks at the theater.
The Story: 5/5
Based on a successful novel, Perks of Being a Wallflower has the benefit of being framed by the author of the book. There are significant edits to the book in order to get it to this runtime but the choices stay very true to the book and make this one of the better adaptations I’ve seen.
Charlie, dealing with deep emotional issues related to his past finds that making new friends and moving with his life in high school after those events is just not easy.
Perks doesn’t take any short cuts; there are no easy answers and there are no solutions that appear like magic. The story does not end with everything being right in the world.
The cast of the film manages to bring the dialog and scenes to life and you will absolutely buy their characters. Emma Watson (Sam), Ezra Miller (Patrick), Logan Lerman (lead Charlie) effectively bring together an ensemble that is relatable and just works together.
The film is going to be more effective for those who may remember high school not so fondly, or for people who have kids in High School now.
The Picture 4/5
Presented in 1.78:1 at 1080P, Perks of Being a Wallflower tries to pull off something unusual in film, it uses a combination of slow downs, soft lighting and haze in order to setup the film in a way that Charlie and others see it.
When I watched Perks in a theater, it took me a bit to get used to, but the more I watched the more I came to enjoy the touch. The extremely soft, hazy look you get here is exactly as it was presented in the theater, and manages to get across the feeling of the way Charlie looks at the world. I can imagine a lot of people wanting the film to be sharper, more digital looking – but in staying true to the original content, Perks does an exceptional job. Scenes of the world as other views Charlie in, imagining the house where something may happen come across as razor sharp. But the world Charlie lives in is hazy, unfocused and it's only in rare scenes that it gains that amazing clarity - often to his own disadvantage.
If you are counting on digitally sharp look, Perks is going to disappoint you. But if you watch the film as a whole the look of the film really manages to work with the perspective of the characters.
I always judge a films audio based on the kind of audio it is trying to present. You can’t expect a film without big action sequences to have a ton of LFE, wild special effects moments that light up your room and pulse pounding sequences that zip across your living room.
That having been said, Perks of Being a Wallflower has an incredibly effective audio track that keeps dialog crisp and clear and easy to understand. The soundtrack – which remains one of my favorites of 2012 – manages to fill the room and brings you in. Sequences of school dances and parties put you right in the middle of the soundstage and make those sets come alive.
Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Stephen Chbosky. It’s unique to have the author of the book also write the screenplay AND direct the film. Chbosky’s audio commentary is thoughtful, interesting and stands out as one of my favorite commentaries.
Audio Commentary with Stephen Chbosky, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Johnny Simmons, Emma Watson, Mae Whitman and Erin Wilhelm. A typical cast and crew commentary with some good moments.
Best Summer Ever (5 Minutes, 1080P) Cast and Crew discuss the film and their experience in filming it.
Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Writer/Director Stephen Chbosky (23 Minutes, 1080P). There are some great cut scenes here that mesh with the book more than the film. But definitely watch for the audio commentary which is a long, interesting love letter to the actors who played in this film, as well as a director hoping for an eventual “extended cut”. Some of these scenes help flesh out the film, others could potentially confuse those who haven’t read the book. The cut scenes also use the same filming method, rotating between very sharp and very soft depending on the nature of the memories and moments of our protagonists.
Dailies with Optional Commentary by Writer/Director Stephen Chbosky (7 Minutes, 1080P). Unedited reals of content that both made it into the film and moments that were cut and not finished.
Theatrical Trailer (1080p)