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Archive for the tag “drama”

“Gravity” (2013) Review


Looking back, the last time I had been anticipating a movie as much as “Gravity” was probably almost a year and a half ago with “The Dark Knight Rises”. Between being a big sci-fi fan, having read reviews about the great visual presentation, and knowing Alfonso Cuaron (director of one of my favorite films, “Children of Men”) was directing, I don’t know how much higher my expectations could have been going into the theater. Despite these massive expectations, I was not ready for what I got with “Gravity” – a film that is a ground-breaking cinema experience and one of the best films I have seen in a long time.

While it’s easy to start by talking about the visual feast in “Gravity”, it is better to start by saying that “Gravity” is about more than just good looks… It is a film about survival. Space is a lonely and dangerous environment, one where Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) and Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) find themselves trying to survive in after debris destroys their space shuttle. Outside of a few opening scenes, this is the main overarching plot of the film – two astronauts trying to find a way back to Earth. This may sound like a shallow plot, but Alfonso Cuaron has developed a lot of depth within such a seemingly narrow framework. Conversations between Kowalsky and Stone are well-written, and reveal a nice depth of character that connects the viewer to the film’s main characters. This, in turn, makes each twist the film takes more impactful, leaving you wondering what will happen next.

Story aside, the most awe-inspiring part of the film is easily the overall presentation. Sure, I heard the visuals were amazing and broke new ground for the cinema world. However, “Gravity” doesn’t seem to be content with raising the bar for visuals in a film – it wants to create a new idea of what you can expect from a film. From the zero gravity physics, to beautiful shots of space and Earth, to the incredible detail in the debris, “Gravity” is a sight to behold. I can easily say that it is the best looking film I have ever seen, hands down. Even with the major effects and visuals, what really pushes it to another level entirely is the little things. There is a striking attention to detail present in every single scene that makes every piece of the film feel as realistic as possible. In the words of George Clooney’s Matt Kowlasky, you really “can’t beat the view”.

Above all else, "Gravity" is the most visually stunning film I've ever scene. As George Clooney's character rightfully remarks, you really "can't beat the view".

Above all else, “Gravity” is the most visually stunning film I’ve ever scene. As George Clooney’s character rightfully remarks, you really “can’t beat the view”.

Speaking of visuals, it is necessary for me to touch on the 3D effects in the film. As you know, I have felt that 3D film-making was more a gimmick than anything, never adding anything to a film – at best you get a few interesting touches, at worst it takes away from the experience with poor use of background blurring and effects that make each quick camera movement jarring. In “Gravity”, however, the 3D is spot on, and enhances the visual experience enough that I would highly recommend seeing the film in 3D over 2D. Between these 3D effects and the overall visual presentation, “Gravity” is an incredible film that must be seen in theaters at least once.

Further adding to my praise for the film is its sound design. The soundtrack itself is perfectly ambient and unsettling at times, fitting right in with the challenges faced in and emptiness of space. Also, the clever use of volume and suppressed noises and music to mimic the vacuum of sound in space is a nice touch that draws the viewer into the setting. In particular, I have to give credit to the opening credits and scene, where the aforementioned items start the film nicely.

Lastly, it is necessary to give mention to both Clooney and Bullock for their roles in the film. Both play their parts wonderfully, with Bullock in particular turning in a tremendous performance as Dr. Ryan Stone. When you are tasked with being the only two characters on-screen for basically the entire film, you need to be able to turn in a special performance. This is exactly what Clooney and Bullock have done, and through Cuaron’s direction, the character interactions become entirely natural and the audience quickly connects with the two on-screen.

“Gravity” is not just good looks. It is a complete package. It has been a long time since I can remember leaving a film in awe, but “Gravity” did just that for me. It is a complete package – from visuals and sound, to plot and acting, “Gravity” is about as perfectly executed as they come. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy one of the most incredible experiences you can see in a theater, or even wait for it to come out on DVD/Blu-Ray. Do yourself a favor and experience “Gravity” in theaters, the way it is meant to be seen. You will not be sorry.

Final Score: 10/10


“Silver Linings Playbook” (2012) Review and Second Opinion

Silver Linings Playbook poster

Silver Linings Playbook was off my radar for a while. Then, I heard some good things about the film, saw it got nominated for a list of Oscars and other awards, and saw my fiance had an interest in seeing it. This caused Silver Linings to quickly jump up to the top of my Netflix queue. I have to say that I was legitimately looking forward to seeing it. However, once I popped in the film and sat through its two-hour run time, I was sorely disappointed. I honestly can’t even say I liked Silver Linings Playbook – it just really wasn’t good. The only thing I was left thinking about the film about mental illness, romance, and the Philadelphia Eagles was where all the praise came from.

I might as well start with the main redeeming quality of the film – the acting. Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro both give great performances as expected – the surprise is Bradley Cooper who delivers an excellent performance. Cooper and Lawrence play well off each other and some of their back and forth banter is genuinely well acted. The supporting cast also does a great job of enhancing the central characters’ performances. Despite my negative opinion of the film as a whole, one thing I have to give Silver Linings credit for is its high quality acting. Still, while I say the acting is high quality, I want to clarify that I didn’t think it was award-winning – as such I don’t think Lawrence deserved her Academy Award for Best Actress (while I may be biased toward the incredible performance given by the young Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild, I still think other actresses were better than Lawrence last year).

So, sure, Silver Linings has a positive in its acting. Unfortunately, this positive is quickly wasted on poorly designed characters and asinine dialogue. Don’t get me wrong – I know Silver Linings is a film with a heavy theme of mental illness. But, throughout the whole film, it felt like every single character had some kind of mental issues, bouncing unbelievably back and forth between emotions, changing moods multiple times within a scene, and carrying out some very unnatural interactions. This causes the characters, as a collective group, to bring down the film despite the cast doing the best they can with what they are given.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence work quite well together and both give great performances in the film. It's a shame that that's about all the film has going for it.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence work quite well together and both give great performances in the film. It’s a shame that that’s about all the film has going for it.

To make matters worse, the dialogue is quite poor. Personally, I’d classify the dialogue into three categories – writing that is genuinely smart, writing that tries to act smart, and writing that almost seems schizophrenic (no pun intended) to the point where all the characters’ lines become a jumbled mess of words that are totally incompatible with each other. The majority of dialogue falls into the latter two categories, while the few scenes that fall into the first are pretty enjoyable.

Outside of the above, the rest of film is generally underwhelming. The central plot feels like nothing more than a clichéd romance drama with a heavy dose of insanity and some obsessive Eagles fanaticism thrown in. The cinematography is not bad, but not great. Even the soundtrack is virtually non-existent for most of the film, and when it does appear, is mainly just licensed songs layered in.

I really expected more out of Silver Linings Playbook. As a multiple award nominee and having received much critical acclaim, I was looking forward to seeing this drama/black comedy. Having seen it now, I can say that I don’t understand the reason for the praise. The film feels shaky and inconsistent in its execution with some poor dialogue and characterization. In the end, Silver Linings has so many flaws that the wonderful acting by the cast cannot save it.

Final Score: 4.6/10


Second Opinion:

Silver Linings Playbook was a big hit last year among critics and fans alike, but after finally seeing the film for myself, I cannot jump on the bandwagon. The movie’s main plot, focused around mental illness, seems so forced that almost every single character ends up acting like they have some sort of illness. The love story between Cooper and Lawrence gets lost in a flat story line, forced acting, terrible dialogue and just a lack of many qualities that make you connect with a film.  

The film lost my attention multiple times, which is a rare thing when I am the one who was genuinely interested in seeing the film. I was truly disappointed in the result. As mentioned in the main review, the cast does their best in trying to make the film the best it can be, but the great acting jobs of the cast could not redeem the clichéd, forced plot line of this film. As a romance, it lacked the emotional connection that many films can easily create to intrigue at least the female audience and as a drama, the story line was so two-dimensional that you become easily uninterested. I just could not get myself to enjoy this film one bit, which I really thought I would, given the widespread praise and award nominations. Better luck on the next film I choose. 
Second Opinion Score: 4/10

“Upstream Color” (2013) Review

Upstream Color cover


I have never seen a film like Upstream Color. Simple as that. Shane Carruth’s recent release is a film that can be described in many different ways – “experimental”, “art film”, “abstract” – however, no classification could really do it justice. Even in broad terms such as sci-fi or drama, Upstream Color cannot find a home. Be assured, you have never seen anything like Upstream Color – and I mean that in a good way.

If you’re familiar with Carruth through his first film, Primer, you know he has talent. Upstream Color has a similar, yet completely different style than that first release. While both films are highly complex, revealing most secrets upon repeated viewings, they differ in their approach. Primer was a rational, sci-fi story with a heavy emphasis on dialogue to push the story forward and make sense of the film’s logic. Upstream Color relies mostly on its audiovisual presentation to portray its story – there is much less of a focus on dialogue (with the last half-hour being nearly free of any spoken words) and more attention on ambient sounds, thematic imagery, and striking visuals. This focus allowed Carruth to create on of the most original films I’ve seen in a long while.

As far as plot goes, the less you know going into Upstream Color, the better. While I will avoid any major spoilers, I still recommend not reading ahead if you are definitely going to see this film in order to get the most out of the experience…..

Still there? Okay. The easiest way to give an idea of the plot of Upstream Color is to say that the film is about the life cycle of an organism, the players who continue the cycle, and those who are affected by it. This basis becomes much more elaborate as the film weaves many themes into its story and presents the viewer with a multi-layered puzzle that at times can be both simple and incredibly complex at the same time. As it stands, the film places the viewer as an inanimate object observing these natural cycles and people and forces you to put all the pieces together actively and pass your own judgement at times. The story may seem to be abstract nonsense to some (and those that don’t enjoy experimental film-making will surely dislike the film), but I assure you there is a coherent narrative here that allows for some personal interpretation.

The Sampler is just one piece in the cycle playing out in "Upstream Color", but he is certainly the most interesting and complex.

The Sampler is just one piece in the cycle playing out in “Upstream Color”, but he is certainly the most interesting and complex.

With this narrative in place, both sound design and cinematography take over and breathe life into the story. While it is often easy to look at the visuals and sound areas of a film separately, here it is not possible – the two are intertwined and integral to the experience. That being said, the overall presentation is absolutely stunning. From Carruth’s ambient soundtrack, to his adept editing, to the striking cinematography, the film amazes its audience in each and every scene. The only real negative for this piece of the film is the dialogue volume. For some reason (possibly due to the focus on ambient sounds and nature throughout the film), the volume of the dialogue in the film is too low. In one sense, this serves to put more of an emphasis on the aforementioned ambience – in another, it is maddening as the viewer has to struggle at times to make out some of the dialogue. Still, this is a small price to pay in the scope of the overall presentation.

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that both Amy Seimetz and Carruth himself (yes, he wrote, directed, did the soundtrack for, produced, and starred in his film) both did a great job with their roles. With little dialogue in parts of the film, the cast must speak through expressions and actions – something that the entire cast does a wonderful job of doing. The nuances in each performance really help bring the viewer further into each character’s mindset and perspective.

In conclusion, as I said before, you have never seen a film like Upstream Color. Still, you will be glad you saw Upstream Color (unless, of course, you are not a fan of experimental film-making). The presentation and plot of the film are stunning and highly original, and Carruth is surely someone of talent to keep an eye on in the film industry. While there may be some issues with the dialogue audio levels, this hardly detracts from what will be the most original film you’ll see all year. Even if you don’t understand exactly what you saw, I think you will  have a hard time saying you didn’t enjoy it.

Final Score: 9.0/10

Ryan Gosling Teams Back Up with Nicolas Winding Refn for “Only God Forgives”

Just knowing that Nicolas Winding Refn is directing Only God Forgives would be enough for me to want to go see it. However, after seeing the above trailer, it quickly jumped to one of my most anticipated films in the coming months. Nicolas Winding Refn has proven he is a talented director (see Drive and Valhalla Rising) and with Only God Forgives, he rejoins Ryan Gosling, who starred in his prior film Drive. This bodes well for this release as the two seem to work quite well together, with Gosling able to really let his acting skills out with Refn’s characters. Let’s hope Refn can continue his streak of high quality films. If you enjoy crime thrillers and striking visuals, and don’t mind some quite graphic violence, look out for Only God Forgives when it releases this July.

“Life of Pi” (2012) Review

Life of Pi poster

With all of the awards it received, along with its widespread critical acclaim, I’m sure many have at least seen previews for/heard about Life of Pi. As a film lover, I felt it was a duty of mine to see a film which took home four Academy Awards, despite my hesitance toward it. After having seen the film for myself, I must disagree with the majority of praise the film received – it seems to me that every year there is one film that receives exaggerated praise. This is not to say Life of Pi is a bad film, per se, but it is just not that great of one.

Life of Pi tells the tale of Pi, from his childhood, to his unbelievable (and by that I mean extremely, extremely coincidental) adventure at sea after being stranded by a shipwreck, to his adulthood. The tale is structured as a narrative told by the adult Pi to a youthful writer who was told Pi’s tale would make him believe in God. This structure and tale are wrapped around some “deep” themes and storytelling, something I, quite frankly, could not find in the film. Sure, there’s some symbolism here and there, and the ending tries to make the whole story into something seemingly deeply philosophical – this ending did honestly manage to somewhat save the plot from being tolerable to just decent for me, but still faltered by falling into the trap of over-explanation. Worse yet, there were some scenes that became almost comical due to their poor design (scenes that were meant to be serious). Still, the story manages to hit capture some decent moments, but there are too many flaws in the plot that keep it from being highly engaging.

With the plot faltering, Life of Pi has to fall back on its visuals to capture the viewer’s attention. Here is an area that the film largely succeeds in – it is absolutely stunning at times. The cinematography put together by Ang Lee and crew is excellent, with some exemplary CGI modeling and animation work. Despite the unbelievable tale being told, the film’s visuals manage to bring to life every detail. Still, at times the crew seemed to be trying to accomplish too much as various pieces of the film seemed slightly rough around the edges (a minor gripe for such great animation). Along with this, there were multiple scenes that failed to add anything to the plot and seemed to be presented only for the sake of showing off the films visual effects, causing these scenes to feel hollow and forced.

While "Life of Pi" may be visually ..., the film never amounts to much in ...

While “Life of Pi” may be visually stunning, the film never amounts to much in terms of its story and characters.

With the visuals earning their praise, another area I found failing to live up to its accolades was the soundtrack (awarded Best Original Score at the Academy Awards). I really didn’t notice any pieces that really stood out to me, and overall, it felt like a pretty standard soundtrack for this adventurous type of film – in other words, it didn’t enhance the film, or even really make its presence known at many points. Despite this, I do have to again give credit to the sound crew for the effects and mixing for the film, as the animals, storms, and other complex pieces sounded great.

Life of Pi produced an oddly similar experience to Slumdog Millionaire for me (a film that received such great praise, but I found very lacking). For all its complex visual work, the film lacks where it matters most – its plot. It may be a magnificent visual feast, but this is one adventure I did not really enjoy. I am sure there are moviegoers that Life of Pi will appeal to, but there was too much style, and too little substance (actual substance, not superficial substance) for me.

Final Score: 4.8/10


Life of Pi just didn’t do much for me as a film. I’m no movie snob, and I realize that, but I enjoy most movies from animated to sci-fi to action and everything in between, but this movie was almost laughable. However, the only really enjoyable parts of Life of Pi were the visuals and many CGI scenes. Some of these scenes were absolutely breathtaking and beautiful, but really were not necessary for this film, seeming to be just trying to distract the audience from the unbelievable plot and story line of the film. Still, it did catch me a few times with some emotions scenes, especially Richard Parker, but probably only because I’m a female animal lover who hated to even imagine the torture that animal faced (even if it was fictitious).

I was upset that this film had received so much praise and many awards this season, that I had to see it. After seeing it, I feel even worse about the hype it received. There were much better films out this past year that deserved those awards over this film. I’ll give the film praise for the visual effects, but story line, soundtrack, and acting were just not at the level I would expect for such a film so highly acclaimed. You can watch it for yourself and see what you think, but don’t forget to let us know in the comments!

Second Opinion Score: 4.0/10

“Anna Karenina” (2012) Review

Anna Karenina Poster

One thing becomes quickly apparent when viewing Anna Karenina – the visual presentation is absolutely stunning. Still, visuals alone cannot make a movie (see Avatar or Life of Pi) and Anna Karenina succeeds on multiple levels to really showcase how to put together a great film. Sure, the basis of the film may be a love triangle story, but I can assure you that this is not just a romance film – it is much more.

As I had mentioned, the story of Anna Karenina focuses on a love triangle between the title character, her husband, and a military officer. This is contrasted against the story of a young man who has fallen for a young woman. For a plot centered on romance, there is a fair amount of depth to the plot, largely due to the excellent writing and symbolism used. This raises the plot to a level well above a romance story and into a great character-driven film. As the characters begin to interact in more tense situations (aided by some excellent acting from the talented Keira Knightly, always excellent Jude Law, and a talented cast of young actors/actresses), the viewer is drawn further into the film’s web, connecting you closer with the story and keeping you firmly engaged. Lastly, while the film follows a fairly straightforward path, there are some nice twists and turns (including some nice surprises) that keep the film from feeling clichéd.

Plot aside, Anna Karenina deserves a ton of praise for its visuals. Every piece that goes into the visual presentation has been painstakingly detailed, resulting in an incredible show for the viewer. The set design is stunning, with the film taking place in a theater setting and sets shifting constantly as the characters walk from area of the stage/rafters to another. The moving set design was a great choice, and one the use of the stage for the presentation ties in perfectly with one of the film’s main themes. In addition, the costume work and cinematography are colorful and brighten the stage, while some intricately choreographed scenes and character movements lend another layer to the film’s already great visuals. I could go on further, but I will stop now and just say that this is a masterfully constructed presentation that perfectly fits the story and themes, and goes a long way to enhance the film as a whole.

The visuals in the film are absolutely stunning, and I cannot praise the set design enough.

The visuals in the film are absolutely stunning, and I cannot praise the set design enough.

The presentation is already being a highlight due to the visuals, but that should not overshadow the soundtrack for the film. The musical pieces for the film are very well composed and stand out as another key piece of the film’s high points. Each scene is even further enhanced by this wonderful, classically rooted score. This soundtrack when put together with the aforementioned visual design even further cements Anna Karenina as such a perfectly presented film.

When compared against some of the best films of last year, Anna Karenina can certainly hold its own. It may not quite reach the heights of those other top films due to some scenes moving too quick with complexly constructed dialogue, and the somewhat slowly developing plot, but the overall presentation is about as good as it gets. I am by no means a romance film fan, but I very much enjoyed Anna Karenina due to its execution. I can easily recommend it to most movie fans, especially those who are fans of theater presentations (who should enjoy the set design and presentation even more). Give Anna Karenina a chance, and it will prove itself as much more than what some might quickly brush off as just a fancy romance film.

Final Score: 8.6/10

“Zero Dark Thirty” (2012) Review

Zero Dark Thirty poster

When I first saw the trailer for Zero Dark Thirty, the film did not really capture my interest. The central plot of the film (the events leading up to and including the death of Osama Bin Laden) seemed to be the focus in order to capitalize on the magnitude of these recent events. Then, after the film received widespread critical praise and was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, my curiosity was piqued. I had to see the film and evaluate it for myself. The film does have some elements that deserve the praise they received, however, the film as a whole is not as … as its accolades would have you believe.

The basic premise of the film is self-explanatory – the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the events leading up to, and including, the night of his death. Despite the widespread coverage of that night’s events, seeing the actual events leading up to that mission seems like it would be an interesting tale. Yet, the inane dialogue (if I heard the man being interrogated in the opening scenes get called “bro” one more time, I may have stopped watching) at many points in the film makes the events seem exaggerated and fabricated (with reports stating that many events were fabricated for the film) – a classic example of what call “Hollywood-ing” a true story.

Despite the plot’s shortcomings, the overall film remains somewhat tense and fairly interesting despite a padded runtime. Also, there is some great acting throughout the film. Jessica Chastain put in an Oscar-worthy performance, full of emotion despite her poorly written, “badass” style dialogue. The supporting cast, as well, fit their parts well and make all of the events seem more true to life.

Jessica Chastain gives an incredible performance in "Zero Dark Thirty" - one well deserving of her Best Actress Oscar nomination.

Jessica Chastain gives an incredible performance as Maya in Zero Dark Thirty – one well deserving of her Best Actress Oscar nomination.

Another piece of the film that to me was done nicely was the sound editing. From explosions and action pieces, to dialogue, to soundtrack, the mix is excellent. Each area of the sound department did a phenomenal job with their work, and it really shows in each an every scene of the film.

Zero Dark Thirty has received much critical acclaim since its release. Some of it is well-deserved (the acting and sound editing are excellent). Other parts of the film, however, are poorly done. With a plot that feels too embellished and dialogue that tries too hard to be “cool” and ends up making some characters sound like they came straight out of a cheesy action flick (one-liners and all), the film suffers but still manages to be an entertaining watch – just be prepared to overlook these flaws.

Final Score: 6.2/10

“Trance” – Danny Boyle’s Follow-Up to the Opening Ceremony

If you were a movie director who just spent the last four years creating the opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics, what would you make your next project after the Games? Danny Boyle decided to change directions away from the large scales and bombast of the Olympics opening ceremony and take a trip back to his roots with “Trance”. Boyle’s first film was crime thriller “Shallow Grave”, and it seems he is looking to come full circle with his upcoming release focusing on an art thief who has lost his memory. The cast, including James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson among others, is talented and should make the film’s story keep you on the edge of your seat. Boyle’s directing talent is immense and many of his usual techniques should fit nicely with the genre. I just hope “Trance” doesn’t fall into the territory of some of his recent work, such as “Slumdog Millionaire” and “127 Hours” (while Boyle’s directing is great, the films were not that interesting to me). Can “Trance” recapture Danny Boyle’s earlier magic?

“Compliance” (2012) Mini-Review

Compliance poster

The quick pitch on “Compliance” is this – it is a film based on a true story regarding one particularly abhorrent incident in a series involving calls placed to fast food chains with the perpetrator claiming to be a police officer and requesting those on the line to perform destestable actions. This basic premise forms the movie, and as such, the film takes place entirely within this particular fast food chain (most scenes occuring in the backroom). This claustrophobic nature of the film, along with the sincerity of the cast’s performances are major positives. Yet, though the film is only90 minutes long, it feels much longer.

I can understand Craig Zobel’s rationale for the length of the film – I’m sure he wanted to include as many of the shocking details about the event as possible. Yet, some pieces were exaggerated or fictional and there is plenty of room to trim this film down. I feel the film could have worked very well as a short film, running at about an hour. Yet, as it stands, it begins to feel almost tortuous at times (partly due to the disturbing reality and content of the film, which is a positive that the film can create such a gut reaction). Honestly, this is the biggest and most glaring negative for the film, and really the one thing that drags the overall movie down. That being said, I have to give credit to the cast of the film. Ann Dowd and Dreama Walker star and give very sincere performances, with the rest of the cast doing a great job as well. This really makes every developing scene tough to watch.

Overall, “Compliance” is a unique film. It is very straightforward and sticks to its source material closely. To the uneducated viewer, the movie would seem completely farfetched. But to believe these events actually happened is a harrowing look into how a group of people could act in such unbelievable ways. Cutting down its length would make the film more powerful and avoidwearing out its welcome, but as it stands, it is still an unusual, yet interesting film.

Final Score – 7.0/10

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2012) Review

Perks of Being a Wallflower poster

To preface this review, I will say that I never read the book this film recreates nor knew anything about its story prior to viewing “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”. That being said, the film as a whole is rather average. It certainly has its good parts, but has many flaws as well that tend to not be easily overlooked in the context of the entire experience.

Starting out, the plot of “Perks” is interesting, but becomes underwhelming. It focuses mainly on a high school freshman who befriends two unusual seniors who take him under their wings and into their group of friends. I have never been a fan of overly exaggerated high school scenarios, and this certainly fits right in with the teen angst feel. While the plot that occupies the majority of the film is decent, there is, however, a deeper story than that which is presented throughout most of the film. Once this deeper story is revealed, it is unexpected – not in a good way, but in a way that lacks the type of development that makes these revelations impactful. Again, I haven’t read the book so I don’t know if anything changed for the film (though I doubt much did since Stephen Chbosky, the original book’s author, also directed the film). The ensuing scenes spiral quickly and feel underdeveloped – a poor change compared to the rest of the film which develops its characters very well. In fact, the characters in this story are what really make the story work. They have such intricate personalities and their actions feel genuine. Without them, the plot would drag and fail to draw the viewer in.

In mentioning the characters, I must speak about the cast who brought them to life. The young group of actors and actresses in the film do a very good job of making everything feel natural. From Watson to Miller to Lerman, there is a talented bunch on display here that it is a shame that the plot fails to hold it together in the final section. Still, despite the plot fumblings, it is hard to find fault with any of the performances in “Perks”.

While its overall plot is interesting, "Perks" handles its most weighty story haphazardly, making its conclusion sloppy in its execution.

While its overall plot is interesting, “Perks” handles its most weighted story haphazardly, making its conclusion feel sloppy in its execution.

Outside of the plot and cast, the other pieces that make of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” are generally well done. The soundtrack has its mix of tracks from Sonic Youth to David Bowie, while the cinematography has its fair share of nice shots. The dialogue is well-written, yet has a pretentious feeling to it (like dialogue trying to sound smart only for the sake of seeming complex). On the whole, though, there is little here that really lifts the movie to above average, nor makes up for the stumbling finale.

For those with interest in “Perks of Being a Wallflower”, I’m sure you will enjoy the film. Honestly, it is a great effort up until the final quarter or so of the film, once it reveals its main plot twist. From there the film unravels and can’t put itself back together, marring the overall experience. Still, the characters, acting, and soundtrack are great and keep the majority of the film interesting.

Final Score – 6.2/10


Second Opinion:

“Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a wonderful film. There is a great cast, a wonderful soundtrack and cinematography work, but most importantly it has a storyline that is truly refreshing for me. Though it may not be the perfect storyline, and did have some obvious flaws when it came to how the story was laid out and timed, it was still enjoyable.

The plot did have some unique twists that added to the depth of the movie. Though there were those over dramatic high school scenes, such as the new kid sitting alone at a lunch table, or getting beat up in the middle of the lunchroom with no teachers around (all of which NEVER happen in real life), it didn’t distract much from the quality of the story. Despite some flaws, it was truly a movie that I enjoyed and could watch again and again. It gave me that feeling of reliving your teen years – the depression, the bullying, the unknown, trying to fit in and finally the overwhelming realization that you don’t need to fit in to feel loved and accepted by the friends around you.

 I really enjoyed the story, the acting and the soundtrack, which made it such an enjoyable movie for me. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys similar style movies, nothing too over the top trying to make you think; yet nothing too flat like most romantic movies or comedies. See it for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments!

Final Score: 7.7/10

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