Totally not typical tempestuous teen tale (4 out of 5 Stars)

Monét Gerald

Texan News Service

During a time of year when theaters are filled with horror movie remakes and sequels, Stephen Chobsky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a breath of fresh air.

“Wallflower” is a heartwarming, relatable story about Charlie (played by Logan Lerman), a shy high school freshman. The story starts on Charlie’s first day of school during which the only friend he makes is his English teacher, Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd). Later on, at a football game, Charlie meets senior stepsiblings Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson) and Charlie instantly develops a crush on Sam. Patrick and Sam take to Charlie and invite him into their group of friends which includes Buddhist punk rocker Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman) and Alice (Erin Willhelm), the shoplifter. Together the group helps Charlie open up and deal with the traumas of his childhood.

Emma Watson is taking a big leap away from the Harry Potter character that she portrayed for a decade. Watson’s portrayal of Sam, the reformed bad girl, is lovely and convincing. Instead of condemning Sam for her past mistakes, Watson makes the audience feel sympathetic toward Sam and the manipulation she endured from so-called friends. Lerman makes the shy, soft-spoken Charlie lovable from the start of the film and, even through his missteps, the audience could not help but root for him. Ezra Miller stole the show with his portrayal of Patrick, the outspoken, flamboyantly gay stepbrother of Sam who accidently gives himself the nickname “Nothing.” Miller nails Patrick’s personal turmoil and conflict while still being the character that lifts everyone else’s spirits.

Chobsky’s writing is a far cry from the typical teenage drama in that all of the characters are relatable in one way or another. His excellent balance of humor and drama allows the audience to relive the funny awkward moments of high school and still feel empathetic toward Charlie, Sam and Patrick.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a must see with a fresh, new twist on “Breakfast Club”-esque teenage angst, optimism and triumph.  

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