The Perks of Being a Wallflower, based on Stephen Chbosky’s bestselling novel, tells the story of high school freshman Charlie. Charlie, played by Logan Lerman, enters high school alone, after his best friend commits suicide the year before. After a few weeks of having only his English teacher for a friend, he befriends senior Patrick (Ezra Miller) from shop class and Patrick’s step-sister Sam (Emma Watson). They provide him with the company he needs to temporarily blot out the hurts of his past, as well as a ticket into the party scene.
From the title, one might assume that this is simply a movie about the benefits of being an outcast. However, it uncovers issues of violence, sexuality, and abuse, and how they can tear someone apart. Friendship and love play a large role in this Indie chick-flick, but many males will appreciate Emma Watson’s inclusion in the cast. Moreover, Logan Lerman is adorable and compelling as Charlie, gaining the audience’s empathy almost immediately.
Author Stephen Chbosky also acts as the director for this film. Despite a few awkward scenes, the film seems like the work of a much more experienced director. The school dances are closer to middle school events than our HHS Homecoming dance, but any such inaccuracies do not detract from the greater depiction of adolescent friendships and struggles.
Overall, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a compelling success, despite the clichés and predictability inherent in its topic.