Oct. 03, 2012 - Issue #885: Fall Style 2012
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
A compassionate English teacher (Paul Rudd) notices Charlie's literary talents and intelligence on the first day, becoming a mentor for the teen, who dreams of becoming a writer. With a little new-found confidence during a football game, Charlie approaches a charismatic but outcast senior named Patrick (Ezra Miller), who's taking freshman shop class with him. Charlie is immediately welcomed into the fold of Patrick's eccentric clique consisting of his poised step-sister Samantha (Emma Watson), who exudes an effortless sense of cool, and their friends—no questions asked. The group introduces him to a world removed from his own, where he feels a sense of camaraderie and acceptance that has become a foreign concept at school.
As bad as things may seem for Charlie, he learns everyone has a little secret and things from their own past they're working through. Chbosky captures the highs and lows of adolescence, from a dizzyingly wonderful first kiss to crushing emotional blows with a sense of sympathy and profound insight. Perks avoids the pitfalls of cliché teen drama and brings a fresh take on the whole crazy time period, with the film's darker undertones offset by clever, witty humour and solid, multi-dimesional characters effortlessly brought to life by the young cast.
Lerman is both heartbreaking and entertaining as Charlie, a young man with potential who has endured more than his fair share of hardships during his short life. Charlie inevitably begins to fall for Samantha, and his affection, although misplaced, as Sam continues to date another, is done with such endearing sincerity you can't help but root for him. Overall, Lerman portrays Charlie with a quiet sense of humour and maturity far beyond the young actor's years.
Watson is the object of affection, but her character's personality runs far deeper, and she brings a sense of security to Charlie's life as she deals with her own issues from her past and present. Sam is a departure from the cookie-cutter crush and a care-free spirit who Watson portrays with a polished performance that's a welcomed departure from her Hogwart's days. While Watson and Lerner shine, so does Miller as Patrick. Miller is able to embody his character to the fullest as he grapples with his sexuality and surreptitious relationship with the head jock of his school. His dark humour and sharp wit juxtaposes the powerful emotions he encounters, which are palpable through the screen.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is character-driven story where the bottom line is simply a strong plot with an impressive young cast, who create something honest and relatable.
Opens Opens Friday
Directed by: Stephen Chbosky
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