The book is really gigantic, that I am very much aware of, so I know for a fact that compressing it to a movie for an hour or two would never be that easy. Also, the thing with the story is that it's holistic, it discusses each and every trouble a teenager can possibly suffer from... and even the romanticized version of them. I really thought Chbosky will consider focusing on one of the major sides of the story; turns out he chose to take packets of everything.
I do believe that in my book review for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I've been very vocal about my frenzy over the Charlie-Sam loveteam, but I didn't feel the same way over Logan-Emma loveteam. The acting of the two protagonists is no less than excellent, but I do think Chbosky overdid things (or should I say Summit Entertainment told him to do so?). What's special about Charlie and Sam is that their love towards is indeed palpable, yet not in the cotton candy way, or at least that's how it is on the book. There is too much kissing, or if I am to put it on a more decent way, too much affection. They don't realize that the reason why Charlie and Sam became so effective on the book is that the readers are craving for more, but on the movie, everything is laid in front of the viewers' very eyes. Thirst is good.
One of the greatest character in the book is Charlie's sister, but in the movie, it seems like they made a total waste out of Nina Dobrev's superb acting skills. I am not sure if it is just me and my utter preposterous interpretation of stuff but I think that next to Aunt Helen, Charlie's sister is the reason why he have gone bad (mad). She exposed Charlie to late night parties, opposite sex relationship and its shenanigans, sex itself, and even abortion. Yet on the movie, she turns out to be a girl in a bow and a dress, is it that easy to turn the world around?
Not that I am being bias... okay perhaps I am, but I would have loved to see more of Patrick. In my opinion, he is the epitome of the teenagers of today, except for occasional Charlies of course. I should admit that I have this big fascination over gender decadence, and coming from my safe perspective, predicaments regarding gender and sexual orientation is the most fragile of all juvenile issues. Also, when Patrick got screwed up by Brad, he pretty much experience everything: drugs, depression, hook-ups and other more, so that's pretty much hitting all the birds with one stone.
The scoring of the movie is nice, I will admit that I am in love with Come on Eileen now, but the original scoring in the book would have been the best line-up. Truth is, one of the reason why I really love this story is that the songs enumerated are my all time favorites. I would have love to hear Landslide during Sam's tunnel session, or Blackbird being sang by Charlie, but instead, I got All Out of Love. Great.
All in all, I would love to see the movie adaptation highlighting the transition of Charlie from a normal kid, to a psychologically challenged (if it's how you'll prefer to call it) teenager rather than focusing on friendship and the very meaning of being young. The morbidity that underlies the story of Charlie is what makes it extremely special, and only less than half of it was shown in the movie. Coming through a non-reader perspective, I wouldn't have even understood what Aunt Helen did to Charlie. Perhaps that is the very reason why I was the only one who went out of the theater teary-eyed... and that wasn't even because of the movie.
The movie is good, considering how great the book is. But as I have told everyone before, we readers are still the best directors such stories can have.
At least this part got me dancing even now: