Not since John Hughes’ 1985 classic The Breakfast Club has a movie captured the emotional struggle that is high school as strikingly and profoundly as The Perks of Being a Wallflower does. Not afraid to go ‘there’ (or anywhere, really), The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the most heart-wrenching and incredible teen coming of age movies I have ever seen.
Introverted Charlie (Logan Lerman) begins his freshman year friendless. Adopted by two seniors, Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), shortly thereafter, Charlie is welcomed into their world of drinking, drugs, and the kind of true camaraderie that comes from knowing others inside and out and loving them anyway. With his new friends behind him, Charlie begins to leave his wallflower days behind, and attempts to be an active participant in his own life.
A critically acclaimed novel adapted and directed by its author, Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower stars Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh, Paul Rudd, Mae Whitman, Nina Dobrev, Johnny Simmons, Erin Wilhelmi, Nicholas Braun, Zane Holtz, and Melanie Lynskey.
Lerman, Watson, and Miller are simply stunning. As each confronts their respective trials and tribulations, it is clear that their talent knows no bounds. Miller’s intense sensitivity and ability to cycle from one emotion to its opposite and back again demonstrate that his artistry ranges far beyond the comedy he’s done before.
Watson absolutely wows as Sam, who is as passionate, endearing, and seductive as Almost Famous‘ Penny Lane. ‘Plain Jane’ Hermione no longer, Watson’s ability to capture and keep our attention will undoubtedly continue to surprise and thrill her future audiences.
Lerman’s performance proves that eyes truly are windows to the soul. His dexterity with conveying emotion through carefully chosen stares and other subtle-but-strong body language is breathtaking at points. Once Lerman has you in his clutches, you will feel Charlie’s every up and down as if it were your own, and root for him so vehemently that you’d gladly take a punch to spare him even one additional iota of pain.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a profound cinematic experience that is not to be missed. You will laugh and you’ll probably cry, but you’ll exit the theater having been touched and moved in a deeply personal way that few movies can accomplish.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower opens in New York and Los Angeles on September 21 (expanding on September 28), and has been rated PG-13.
All photos: © 2011 – Summit Entertainment, LLC.