Directed By: Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller
Tag line: "We are infinite"
Trivia: Though not explicitly shown on screen or mentioned, the film is set during the 1991-92 school year, just as it was in the book
Of all the films released in 2012, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is, hands-down, my favorite, and if it hadn’t been for the Movie Podcast Weekly, I probably would have never seen it.
The Movie Podcast Weekly is just that: an audio podcast that reviews a new theatrical release every week. A while back, co-host Karl Huddleston was singing the praises of a recent picture titled The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which he was calling one of 2012’s best offerings. Now, I’d heard of this film prior to Karl’s recommendation, but had zero interest in seeing it (the title alone made it sound like a sappy pre-teen flick, along the lines of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). Then, a few weeks later, the show’s main host (and a good friend of mine), Jason Pyles, also spoke highly of the movie, so I decided to check it out.
Needless to say, I’m glad I did.
Based on a novel he himself penned, director Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower details the trials and tribulations of Charlie (Logan Lerman), a high-school freshman who desperately wants to fit in. By chance, he meets Patrick (Ezra Miller), an outgoing senior who introduces Charlie to his bubbly stepsister, Sam (Emma Watson), and before long, Charlie is accepted into Patrick and Sam’s inner circle, which includes the pushy Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman) and the shy Alice (Erin Wilhelmi). Yet, in spite of all his new-found happiness, Charlie continues to be haunted by a secret from his past that, if left unchecked, might just tear his world apart.
Despite the fact it occasionally delves into some pretty dark territory, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is, at its heart, an upbeat, energetic motion picture, which has everything to do with its tremendous cast. Lerman is convincingly awkward as Charlie, and Ezra Miller brings tons of personality to the part of Patrick, but the true standout is Emma Watson as Sam, Patrick’s beautiful, kind-hearted stepsister who takes Charlie under her wing. Many of the film’s best scenes, like the three of them dancing to the ‘80s hit, “Come on Eileen” or Sam “flying” through the tunnel as David Bowie’s “Heroes” plays on the radio, work because we truly believe these characters are the closest of friends, and we enjoy spending time with them. Thanks in large part to these young actors, The Perks of Being Wallflower is much more than a movie; it’s a life-affirming experience.
Every week, whether by way of the social networks I frequent or the various podcasts I listen to, I learn about dozens of films, some of which I never heard of before, that prove to be hidden gems. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one such movie. So, my sincere thanks go out to Karl Huddleston and The Movie Podcast Weekly. You guys turned me on to a fabulous film here.