A trifecta of established young stars – Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson), Emma Watson (Harry Potter) and Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin) – headline The Perks of Being a Wallflower, based on the acclaimed novel by Stephen Chbosky (who also wrote and directed the film adaptation).
Perks of Being a Wallflower tells the tale of Charlie (Lerman), an introvert high school freshman who gets a crash-course in living teenage life to the fullest from an attractive senior named Sam (Watson) – who Charlie instantly develops a crush on – and Sam’s gay stepbrother, Patrick (Miller). When he’s not getting up to some ‘extracurricular’ activities (parties, drugs, and teen debauchery), Charlie is encouraged to pursue his dreams of becoming a writer by his English teacher, Bill (Paul Rudd).
Rounding out the Perks of Being a Wallflower cast are people like Kate Walsh (Private Practice) and Dylan McDermott (American Horror Story) as Charlie’s parents, Zane Holtz (Lerman’s Percy Jackson costar) as Charlie’s older brother/star athlete, and Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men) as Charlie’s late Aunt Helen – a troubled woman who Charlie remains (unsettlingly) obsessed with.
Check out the official Perks of Being a Wallflower poster below:
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Judging solely by the trailer, you might think Perks of Being a Wallflower is mostly just a nostalgic examination of high school life – and, to a degree, you’d be correct (for better or worse). However, Chbosky’s novel also deals with some pretty heavy subject matter, including, suicide, the awkwardness of teen sexual awakening, and (no spoilers!) other uncomfortable ideas. Presumably, the film adaptation retains much of that content, seeing how Chbosky is the one calling the shots.
As far as early footage goes: Perks of Being a Wallflower (in this writer’s opinion) comes off as a somewhat romanticized and pretentious look at themes and ideas that’ve been addressed in countless previous films about adolescence. It doesn’t help that Chbosky has a bit of a track record when it comes to overly-self-important adaptations (see: his script for the film version of Rent). Also, the decision to hold onto the original framing device from the book – where Charlie narrates his experiences and thoughts via letters to an unknown correspondent – could result in lots of tedious voiceover.
Moving onto the positive side of things – the three main stars in Perks of Being a Wallflower look quite solid in their respective roles. Also, Chbosky’s novel really speaks directly to young people who are either going through the same events as Charlie, or who still have fresh memories of their high school mindset (similar to Twilight – take that as you will). That’s all to say: the film adaptation may likewise mean more to the less-experienced, under-20 crowd, than it does to us cynical adults.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower opens in U.S. theaters on September 21st, 2012.