Release date: September 21, 2012 (ltd.)
Written and Directed by: Stephen Chbosky
Based on the book by: Stephen Chbosky
Cast: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd, Kate Walsh, Dylan McDermott, Mae Whitman, Nina Dobrev, Erin Wilhelmi, Johnny Simmons, Joan Cusack
Rating: PG-13; Running Time: 103 minutes
Actual teenage wallflowers struggling through their first year of high school should only have it so good. They should all find themselves embraced by such quirky seniors as the outrageous Patrick (Ezra Miller) and his effervescent happy-sad stepsister Sam (Emma Watson). They should all be recognized as budding geniuses by kind, insightful English teachers such as Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd). And they should all have such supportive parents as this film’s Mother and Father (Kate Walsh and Dylan McDermott). As it turns out, the first year of high school for Charlie (Logan Lerman) is such a seminal experience, that The Perks of Being a Wallflower offers up an unintended irony … rather than delivering a story that young introverts can relate to, they might leave the theater feeling even more depressed about their own pedestrian lives. Oh well, that’s the movies for you.
Adapted from his epistolary YA novel, writer/director Stephen Chbosky sets this film, circa 1991, in his hometown suburban neighborhood near Pittsburgh. (He states the story is personal, rather than autobiographical.) Charlie, a shy 15-year-old who’s recently suffered some emotional setbacks, is soon swept up into a world outside of anything he’s ever known before. It’s one thing to be befriended by a few senior schoolmates … but these seniors are idiosyncratically fun, smoking pot, partying till all hours, faithfully dancing and lip-syncing to The Rocky Horror Picture Show in front of the screen with costumes, make-up and quasi-faithful choreography.
Chbosky delivers a particularly apt snapshot of teenage angst when the troubled Sam climbs up on the back of a pickup truck, arms spread, as the vehicle speeds through the Fort Pitt Tunnel and onto a bridge that seemingly rushes smack into Pittsburgh’s brilliantly-lit skyline. Her actions are akin to flying, to escaping — and even if it means that her daring ride just might remove her from the planet altogether … maybe that’s OK, too. Haunted by memories of his best friend’s recent suicide, as well as the untimely death of his beloved Aunt Helen (Melanie Lynskey), Charlie understands the concomitant embrace of life and death all too well.
The best perks of Perks come from its strong performances. Leading the pack is Ezra Miller (delightful in City Island, extraordinary in We Need to Talk About Kevin). As the theatrically gay Patrick, Miller depicts his character’s giddy anarchic teen spirit that masks a most profound sorrow.
As Patrick’s stepsister, starring in her first major role following the Harry Potter series, Watson gives us … [FOR THE FULL REVIEW ON doddle & RATING, PLEASE CLICK HERE]