An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.
Coming of agemovies have been around for years, and the genre consists of some very fine movies, with ‘The Breakfast Club’ probably still being considered the best of its genre.
‘Perks’ as I shall refer to it from now on, is an ensemble movie.
The introvert freshman whom we can consider the lead of the movie is Charlie (Logan Lerman). He’s just started out on highschool and has absolutely zero friends.
By chance (and isn’t that always how it goes on highschool) he eventually meets Patrick (Ezra Miller) and his stepsister Sam (Emma Watson) who accept him into their group. From here on out, it seems like this is a by the numbers movie.
Naturally, Charlie is finding his feet in school, creating a bond with his English teacher (Paul Rudd) who gives him interesting books to read and fuels his desire to become a writer.
But beneath the surface of all it’s characters is where the magic happens.
Logan Lerman who played Percy Jackson and D’artagnan most recently never had me convinced that he had a lot of staying power, yet in his performance of Charlie, he absolutely nails it.
Emma Watson, who I consider to be one of the better child actors to come out of Harry Potter, is equally great as the handsome and strongly willed Sam.
And to top the trio from the poster off we get Ezra Miller in a great performance as Patrick, the funny guy.
Which is a refreshing break from him, considering he played Kevin in the horror/thriller ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ just last year.
Like I mentioned, beneath the surface of its characters is where it all happens.
Charlie has been through some undisclosed trauma at a younger age and with Sam struggling to get into Penn State University and Patrick trying to cope with his closet gay lover, you get the feeling that this really is life as a teenager in the current day and age.
Yes, there is drugs, and there is booze, but that’s not the important part of the movie. It’s about finding your feet amongst so many people you don’t know and trying to find yourself in the process.
While Charlie is lucky in finding some friends, so many kids these days aren’t. And in one of the greatest scenes of the movie, you get to see that typical and fragile group behaviour that decides whether or not you can stay friends or not. Do something that some people don’t agree with and you’re back on your own again.
‘Perks’ is probably the greatest coming of age movie since ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Stand By Me’ because it is grounded in todays reality.
So many little scenes and moments of dialogue contribute to its greatness, but most need to be witnessed for yourself instead of told to you by me.
First-time director Stephen Chbosky, who filmed his own novel with the same title, looks like he’s been making movies for most of his adult life, and with such a stellar cast and story, what more could one wish for.
When we look back at this movie in 5-10 years from now, it will still be relevant, and essential viewing for any kid who is yet to face the adventure that is highschool.