Film Analysis Essay on The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Published: 2021-06-29 17:33:40
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George Washington University
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The film, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, is a 2012 American drama film, which is a reworking of the 1999 novel of the same name. Stephen Chbosky, who was the author of the novel directed the film. It was filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and having been released on September 21, 2012; it received a positive response from its audience, as well as a commercial success because it sold over US$30 million. It is a teen drama, and it follows a story of Charlie, who is an introverted boy without friends and struggles with some demons from his past. It is heavily emotional, and in some instances, it is disturbing. Charlie is a 15-year old and is considered a naive and an endearing outsider trying to cope with his first love. The demons from his past include his best friend committing suicide, as well as the fact that he has a mental illness. In essence, being a shy teen, he is struggling to find a group of people with whom he can consider friends. However, being an introverted freshman, he us took under the wings of two seniors, Patrick and Sam, who subsequently welcome him into the real world.

The plot of the movie is a simple, yet at times, complicated. Charlie is shy and lacking friends he can spend time with, but he has just joined high-school. For this reason, he misses his best friend who has just committed suicide. He has ben suffering from clinical depression from childhood setbacks and from the movie we learn that he has just been discharged from a mental health institution to manage his depression. After being discharged, he is trying to adapt to a normal lifestyle at the high-school level. He is uneasy in beginning his freshman year because of his shyness, which makes it difficult for him to make new friends, but he connects perfectly with his English teacher, Mr. Andersen. In addition, he connects with Sam and Patrick at a football match, and they invite him to participate in social activities, such as partying. At one instance at a party, he eats a cannabis brownie, gets high and reveals to Sam that his friend had died. Sam in the process realizes that Charlie had no other friends and together with Patrick make an effort of bringing him to their group. Sam needs to pass SAT exams, and Charlie offers to tutor her. At Christmas, Sam gives Charlie a typewriter that would help him in his aspirations of becoming a writer. The two also discuss relationships, and through that, we learn that Charlie has never kissed. Sam is involved with someone else and tells Charlie that she would want that his first kiss from someone who loves him. Even so, Charlie is in love with her and finds ways to show her how he feels. Charlie gets an opportunity to fill as Sams boyfriend at Rocky Horror Picture Show Performance. Mary Elizabeth, their friend, is impressed with Charlie and asks him to the Sadie Hawkins dance, from which they enter in a relationship. However, at a party, he was asked to kiss the beautiful mast girl, and chooses Sam over Elizabeth, thereby upsetting them. Patrick tells Charlie that he should stay away from the circle for a while forcing him back to depression.

Brad shows up at school having injured his eye after being caught by his father having sex with Patrick, but he instead lies telling his friends that he had been beaten up. In effect, he distances himself from Patrick and calls him a faggot. Brads friends attack Patrick, but Charlie intervenes, but in the process he blacks out. He later wakes up with injuries. Patrick and Sam express gratitude towards him, triggering a renewal of their friendship. Sam, having been accepted at Penn State, breaks up with Craig as he was cheating on her. Before leaving, Sam and Charlie kiss, but Charlie passes it off as nothing. After she leaves, Charlies emotional state deteriorates, and his flashbacks worsen. Subsequently, he calls his sister and blames himself for Helens death. His sister realizes that he is in trouble and calls for help. He passes out and wakes up to Dr. Burton, a psychiatrist who manages to bring out the memories of his aunt. Patrick and Sam visit him, and she explains how college life is like and how she found the Tunnel Song, and the three revisit the tunnel. Charlie kisses Sam, to which he says that he felt alive.

Looking at the characters, Charlie is the films main character. He is socially awkward and mentally unstable after his friend committed suicide. At the commencement of his high school freshman year, someone tries to beat him up, but he had already learned how to fight years before and h messes up the bully badly. He is also labeled as a weirdo and a freak. Besides, he suffers from depression, but with the help of the psychiatrist, he can repel the ailment. In effect of the poor social attributes, he does not have many friends until he meets Patrick and Sam. Since then, he is portrayed as a good man and a loving one too, which is manifested by the way he loves Sam. He is aged 15 in the movie. By the way, he tutors Sam, we learn that he is sharp, at least on an educational basis. He is always in search of a greater understanding of everything and everyone, and thus, he is portrayed as an over analyzer. He wants to know why persons do the things. When he joins Patrick and Sams group, he learns many things, including partying. We also know that he is aggressive by the way he defends Patrick from Brads friends.

On the other hand, Sam is portrayed as a beautiful young senior and happens to be Patricks stepsister. She attends the same school as Charlie, and after connecting with him, they become friends. She is caring for Charlie, and for this reason, she visits him in the hospital. We also learn that he loves Craig but later finds out that he cheats on her, which makes her end the relationship. Patrick is a major player in the film; he is a senior and a friend to Charlie. He is a stepbrother to Sam. He has secret sexual endeavors with Brad, and we get to learn that he is gay. In contrast, Brad is not openly gay, and when his father finds them he lies that he was beaten, which leads to a major brawl between his friends and Patrick, but Charlie intervenes. Charlies sister is not close to him but plays an important role to call for help when she realizes that Charlie is in trouble. Also, she gives advice about life and dating. Aunt Helen haunts Charlie and is the cause of Charlies depression. However, the psychiatrist prospers in repelling the memories. Mary Elizabeth is also a senior, and she and Charlie are in some relationship.

There are various these in the film. Firstly, there is friendship which is a valuable asset. Charlie has to have friends to help beat his depression. Additionally, Patrick and Sam, Charlies friends are important as they help him get through high school. Since they are friends, Charlie can defend Patrick from Brads friends. Besides, Charlie tutors Sam. For this reason, friendship provides mutual benefit in the film. Another theme that was brought in the movie is that our share experiences are vital in validating and understanding each other. In essence, through common activities like partying, Charlie discloses hos past to Sam and Patrick, to which they strive to be his friends. Another theme in the film is that we are never alone. Charlie feels lonely and suffers from despair, but it is not for long because he son makes friends at high school. Charlie bonds with Sam and Patrick perfectly that he no longer feels despair and loneliness. From the movie, another major theme is that we need to enjoy the moment. Charlie has a moment of true happiness, especially when he was kissing Sam. He acknowledges it by saying that he felt infinite. For this reason, for high school, enjoying the first kiss is a problem of enjoying the moment. Another concurrent theme is that we need to accept the love we deserve. In essence, this is portrayed by Sam and Charlie, who at first do not love each other, but upon realizing that his boyfriend cheated on her, she is inclined to love Charlie.


Chbosky, S. (2012). The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Summit Entertainment: Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

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