I have to applaud the approach that was taken to portray Charlie’s abuse. The violence and complete disruption of trust is all the more terrifying because it is shot so tastefully, and the crimes are perpetuated gently, quietly, in a whisper, with a soft "loving" hand of a subdued, smiling female, who is as persistent and controlling a presence to a grown Charlie as she was when she molested him. This is much more realistic than the blood splattered screens some directors favour so much to heighten the degree of such crimes (allegedly). The dream-like quality of a survivor’s memories of the incidents is rendered so realistically it leaves the viewer with uneasy questions: Did it really happen? Is Charlie insane? Are those just hallucinations? – questions that plague all survivors until they learn to let go and move on. By making those choices Chbosky shows he is not just a good writer and director, but an accurate psychologist, who has done his homework (or knows about this from personal experience, unfortunately).
The Perks of Being a Wallflower features gorgeous 35 mm cinematography that captures the dreamlike quality of the movie perfectly, and the Blu-ray doesn’t lose any of those qualities "in translation." The 1.78:1-framed image, changed from the theatrical 1.85:1, is of high quality, and captures detail wonderfully (stockings on the actors, fuzzy holiday sweaters, etc). The colors and textures are rendered very naturally, lending the movie a more realistic experience. Some problems arise in darker sequences (the park, the night drives, etc) with black levels a bit excessive. Apart from that, the Blu-ray is worth its price.
The 5-channel Master Audio track is both great at capturing the musical score of the movie (seminal to its themes) as well as the dialogues in multiple locations. The sounds effects add to the touchy-feely atmosphere of the movie. Louder sequences (Patrick’s ululations and yelps mostly) can be raspy and not up-to-par, however. There are English and Spanish subtitles on the pack.
"Audio Commentary with Stephen Chbosky" will be an interesting look at the process of adapting material so close to heart for the screen. It is rare to see an author actually share his point of view on both the book and the process of adapting it, offering insight into the decision making process of what to keep and what to toss. The segment also contains jokes and anecdotes fans will enjoy.