The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Logan Lerman
Child actors grow up together in this coming-of-age drama about Charlie (Lerman), a shy, introverted high-school freshman embraced by the free-spirited seniors Sam (Watson) and Patrick (Miller). Finally comfortable with himself, thanks to this new friendship, a dark secret threatens to ruin his new-found happiness.
A hip soundtrack, endless party scenes and whimsical voice-overs make this a high-school movie in every sense of the word. As soon as the film begins to gather emotional momentum, another song/party/flashback comes in to remind you again that this is, indeed, just another teen film. However, the film's style and its three enjoyable leads make it a charming watch.
Charlie is played earnestly by Lerman, although many of his outsider traits feel like emotional window-dressing, bolstered by strong supporting acts from Paul Rudd and Mae Whitman. The standout is Watson, however, who makes her first meaningful post-Potter performance. A mixed tape-making, offbeat dream girl, she's beguiling in the role and works perfectly with Lerman's lead.
Ending with a surprising (albeit somewhat histrionic) twist that makes the previous 100 minutes feel justified, Perks may not feel original but is satisfying enough to delight younger audience members, and maybe win over a few older ones, too.