The Perks Of Being A Wallflower: "Welcome To The Island Of Misfit Toys"

Director: Stephen Chbosky
Writer:    Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Logan Lerman
                Emma Watson
                 Ezra Miller
               Mae Whitman
               Nina Dobrev
               Johnny Simmons
               Dylan McDermott
               Kate Walsh
               Paul Rudd
               Joan Cusack
Rating:    ****

Home Release: 04/02/2013

You don't often hear of authors becoming a huge influence in their novels film-adaption. With The Perks of Being a Wallflower, that is exactly what has happened; with author Stephen Chbosky adapting his story into a screenplay and then directing it. Thanks to this the characters stay true to their source material, and remain authentic and genuine; as well as the story still felling real, raw and emotional. You never feel like you are being taken for a ride, and each scene feels full of sincerity and honesty; despite the odd coming-of-age drama cliche.

Emma Watson, Logan Lerman
& Ezra Miller
At the very heart of the story is Charlie (Lerman), a lonely freshman who is just trying to get through high school, and grieve for his deceased friend and aunt. Luckily, he soon finds himself taken under the wing by a pair of seniors; slightly eccentric Patrick (Miller); and his troubled step-sister Sam (Watson). Together they drink, do drugs, for some reason share a love of the song 'Come On Eileen', and allow themselves to be free around each other as they deal with the traumas of adolescence. It's not long before Charlie develops feelings for Sam, and they bond over their haunting pasts.

As the months go by, and they grow and change, things happen that cause the group to drift apart. As Sam goes through various boyfriends, and Patrick tries to survive school as an openly homosexual student with a closeted jock boyfriend; Charlie finds himself lost and isolated again. It's here that Chbosy uses flashbacks to really get to the true roots of Charlie's traumatic past. 

Paul Rudd
We are living through the lives of teenagers in the early 90's, and thanks to a brilliant soundtrack (for the most part), and a terrific, fresh cast, Perks feels like a John Hughes classic. Admittedly it covers some darker subject matters, such as mental illness and sexual abuse;  which allows for some truly heart-wrenching scenes and acting.

Chbosky does an absolutely superb job at directing his emotional teen drama, but for me the true congratulations needs to go to our leading trio, Lerman, Watson and Miller. Miller especially shines, after completely changing from the satanic Kevin in, We Need to Talk About Kevin. He is fun-loving, quick-thinking, and not afraid to stand up for what he believes in. However he still has his own personal issues to deal with, as his secret boyfriend Bard (Simmons) refuses to accept himself and the relationship.

Watson and Lerman are both straight from starring in huge, CGI filled franchises (Harry Potter & Percy Jackson respectively), but both manage to thrive in a quieter and simpler movie. They deliver pain filled and vulnerable performances, as they struggle through their serious (and teenage angsty) problems; and Watson does it all with a tremendous American accent. The Perks of Being a Wallflower may seem like your typical high school drama, but as the director and actors delve deeper it proves itself to be a truly emotional and, at times, harrowing cinematic triumph.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Trailer