Setting the normal teen movie on its head "Perks of a Being a Wallflower" shows both the pain and the joy of coming of age. Introverted Charlie has a lot of baggage for a freshman in high school. His best friend recently committed suicide and Charlie is having difficulty getting beyond his grief and other issues. At school, he is drawn to some other outcasts, Sam and Patrick, who are seniors and far more flamboyant. Sam and Patrick's world is peopled with eccentrics and revolutionaries. Charlie is an odd fit for their motley crew, but they welcome him. Despite their age difference and her telling him not to, Charlie falls for Sam and the usual manic highs and crushing lows of infatuation sear through this character whose old wounds haven't even begun to scab over.
The subject matter alone would raise "Perks of Being a Wallflower" beyond teen movie, but the star power here cannot be denied. Sam is played by Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame and Patrick shines as played by Ezra Miller from the disturbing "We Need to Talk About Kevin." Infusing these supporting characters with verve is nothing compared to Logan Lerman's turn as Charlie. Lerman conjures the "Velveteen Rabbit" and gives life to Charlie, no easy feat when his character is subtle and wounded and surrounded by audacious friends.
"Perks of Being a Wallflower" was written by Stephen Chbosky who also directed the film. Reading the book explains some of the vague implications of Charlie's scarred psyche, but still leaves some questions unanswered. The book understandably deals more with the main character's inner turmoil, while the film focuses on the interconnecting relationships. In either form this powerful slice of life is carved out with the sharpest of blades.
--Cindy F., Headquarters