The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Emma Watson and Ezra Miller steal the show in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Miller often reminded me of a Jack Nicholson for a new generation. This book-turned-film pleases at every turn. It was written and directed by Stephen Chbosky known for the TV series Jericho. Lead actors include: Emma Watson as Sam, Logan Lerman as Charlie, and Ezra Miller as Patrick.

This movie is an adaptation of Stephen Chbosky’s novel. Charlie is 15 years old and has trouble finding his place in High School. He learns to make friends in the context of a group of misfits. He learns about love, friendship, and his own mental illness in the same context. Lucky for him, it’s a warm, supportive context. It is in some ways the typical coming-of-age film but there is some originality here as well. There are a LOT of “mix tapes” changing hands, almost to annoyance. My wife reminded me the movie is set in 1990 so that might explain it.

I was able to shed my grown-up reason and enjoy this film as my inner-high-school self. Emma Watson is the perfect choice for Charlie’s first love because her face is so familiar and calming. When Charlie has some of his darker moments, she is there as a comforting force. Ezra Miller, who was terrifying in We Need to Talk About Kevin, moves into a new phase of his acting career. He is a delight to watch often showing humor akin to Jack Nicholson (in his own budding way). Logan Lerman does a fine job as Charlie. His piercing eyes really speak more than his lines but I found him to be engaging for the role. People are comparing this film to the Breakfast Club, I think that a hollow comparison. Both are about kids in High School but I don’t see Wallflower hanging around in the American mind as much. It’s a lot of fun with some great acting but fails to mirror the storms of adolescence as clearly as the Breakfast Club.

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