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3.0 out of 5 stars SUMPTUOUS MOVIE, BUT THIS DVD SUFFERS FROM FAULTY ASPECT RATIO ON NON-WIDESCREEN TVs., 22 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Perks of Being a Wallflower [DVD] (DVD)
Chbosky's film is at once a fleeting farewell and a shimmering celebration.
The twinkling of an eye in which all that's mundane and finite briefly encounters
the infinite. A lighthouse abiding at the eleventh hour of youth, but are we to be
facilitated or blinded by the light?

This is evergreen film-making which, despite minor creases, is destined for both
Hearts and top-shelves. It prevails without feigning intellectual or "artsy" complexity.
It doesn't need to be revolutionary or deeply insightful into the characters.
The film glows with the charm, warmth, sincerity, charisma, and golden chemistry of the leads.
It's not simply their good looks, but the rare occurrence of something magical on and off-set which catalysed the emotional embrace of this tale - a tale which is sometimes understated and at times, underlined in bold. A sound balance ensues between heartache and euphoria, and in the fullness of time we are subtly floored.

There are echoes of a myriad of High school classics: the chance meeting of strangers who magically bond as if by destiny as in Hughe's charming bittersweet BREAKFAST CLUB (1985), glimpses into the sadness of High school experience such as bullying, peer-pressure, prejudice and self-deception as in HEATHERS (1988), honestly portrayed teen homosexuality as in the glorious MY SO CALLED LIFE (1994), faint hues of the grim beauty and gravity of RIVER'S EDGE (1986), or the dark, maddening, nightmarish incest of THE BUTTERLY EFFECT (2004). Yet PERKS still stands as unique.

EZRA MILLER'S diverse talents soar on skyward - I loved him in this almost as much as in WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011). LOGAN'S resemblance of a cherub-esque CHRISTIAN SLATER holds well with the 90s/80s nostalgia. This didn't strike me as a performance-heavy script yet to their credit everyone played wonderfully.

The twin "flying" sequences in Pittsburgh`s FORT PITT tunnel are resplendent and emancipating - sweet camerawork, lighting and performances.

Tasteful, earnest and touching approach to teen homosexuality with a cool parallel
between the Jock's repression of his homosexuality and another character's repression of being abused in childhood.

When the story shifts focus to the abuse and incest it does so without being too graphic and this meshes well with the overall tone of the film, as well as heightening emotions. Though moved, I felt a tad disappointed by the victim's institutionalization and his apparent helplessness outside of "the system" as it were. It seemed pro-psychiatry, although this may have simply been a re-telling
of actual facts (parts of Chbosky's book are based on real life).
Even so it all worked for me, particularly by the end.

The ethereal rock masterwork PEARLY-DEWDROPS' DROPS (1984) is a strong contender
for tunnel song and should at least have played far more prominently and audibly on the score. As it stands it was slightly drowned in background obscurity and ambience, which is quite a shame since it is arguably the stand-out song on the entire Soundtrack.
Chbosky on his commentary seemed keen to someday re-release a PERKS in an extended
form, so I genuinely hope some of the fans modest suggestions, such as mine, might be incorporated.

Remembering might be the first step to recovery, so I found it most intriguing that the victim's abuse memories resurface partly thanks to an LSD trip - now there's a POSITIVE drug story that you won't hear on the news as the late, great BILL HICKS might say!

TECHNICAL NOTE:
Although this won't matter to most folks, this version of the DVD won't play
as Widescreen/Letterbox format on old-style CRT 4:3 TVs. This is a daft hiccup.
I tried on several DVD players - a WHARFEDALE, BUSH and a PHILIPS with no luck.
Since most Widescreen DVDs normally display by default as 16:9 Letterbox on 4:3
TVs, I think this is a GENUINE FLAW IN THE ASPECT RATIO.

Otherwise, fully recommended, and I hope to see that EXTENDED CUT one day Mister Chbosky - Thank You for a splendid movie!
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