The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Novel vs. The Movie
Major differences between the novel and the movie:
Charlie's Christmas Poem
Although the poem doesn't affect the plot much, it is an important moment between Charlie and his friends. His suicidal poem, although too long to be read onscreen, is extremely heart-wrenching and eye-opening, and says a lot about Charlie's character and how extreme his depression is. Without the poem, the movie doesn't seem like it is missing anything, but those who read the book may feel as though the poem should have been added, even an abbreviated version of it.
In the book, Charlie believes in God but he says that his parents aren't religious. Catholicism is introduced in the movie and adds some different context that the book didn't have. Adding religion to the movie made the decisions Charlie made seem different and his mindset seem to be in a different place. With the religious aspect, the audience receives a completely different perspective on Charlie's immediate family than what they did in the book.
Music in the Tunnel Scene
In the book, in the tunnel scene, the song that is playing on the radio is "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac, whereas in the movie, the song playing is "Heroes" by David Bowie. The feeling the reader gets while reading the book and imagining the song "Landslide" playing is almost tragic and very slow, making it seem more sad than anything else. However, when watching the movie and hearing "Heroes", the audience is given a more happy and upbeat feeling, making the mood seem completely different.
In the book, Charlie's sister's abusive boyfriend gets her pregnant and Charlie drives her to a clinic to get an abortion. His sister then breaks up with her abusive boyfriend for good. In the movie, this never happened which is a huge deal, considering this was a major connection between Charlie and his sister, and a very dramatic and impacting moment on anyone's life. This being left out of the movie is huge because it is a very important moment in Charlie and his sister's relationship.
Book and Movie Reviews
According to Common Sense Media, the book deserves 4 out of 5 stars, and is not suggested for anyone under the age of 16 due to sexual content, language, and situations such as abortion and suicide.
IMDb gives the movie 8.1 stars out of 10, and rated the movie to be pg-13 due to sexual content, situations such as suicide, and language.