The Perks of Being a Wallflower (12)

Film

Romance

Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller and Emma Watson in The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Oct 2 2012

Looking at the primary-coloured posters pasted around town for this tender-hearted teen drama, you might conclude that the chief perk of being a wallflower (a list many of us know from experience is not a long one) is being very pretty indeed. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller stare at us with magazine-ready faces unblemished by acne, wearing artfully dishevelled hipster garb. If they’re struggling to get noticed at school, they could always try their chances with an elite modelling agency.

So it’s to the credit of this gentle, plainly personal debut from writer-director Stephen Chbosky, adapting his own popular 1999 youth novel, that we’re on the kids’ side from the get-go. The wallflower is Lerman’s Charlie, a bright but paralysingly shy bookworm just beginning high school in suburban Pittsburgh. No prizes for guessing that the only ally he finds in his first weeks is his kindly English teacher (Paul Rudd), though as Chbosky unpacks the character in slightly ungainly flashbacks, we learn there’s greater trauma behind his social ineptitude than standard teen insecurities.

When Charlie does make friends, it’s by inverting the standard high school hierarchy. Two Smiths-loving senior-year rebels take him under their wing: sarky gay misfit Patrick (Miller) and his stepsister Sam (Watson), a manic-pixie-dreamgirl type with whom the younger boy inevitably falls secretly, if none-too-subtly, in love. You can mostly guess where it goes from there, though its psychological troughs are darker than most. And setting proceedings in 1991 keeps things appealingly analogue, even if its period details are curiously inconsistent: for one thing, this allegedly music-mad trio fill mixtapes with Shaggs B-sides, but have apparently never heard of David Bowie.

Chbosky’s direction can be as awkward as his protagonist while he negotiates tricky breaks in tone and structure. But that inexperience in itself lends an irresistible guilelessness to this adolescent love letter, as do the delicate performances from its adorable ensemble. Watson holds her own with a character more annoying on paper than in reality, but it’s the boys who most impress: a waxy whippersnapper in previous films, Lerman (best known as Percy in 2009’s ‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief’) sweetly conveys that self-indulgent teenage state when your feelings are bigger and newer than any felt by anyone before. Miller, meanwhile, is sufficiently gangly and endearing to convince us that his somewhat less perky wallflower in last year’s ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ was just an act.

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Release details

Rated:

12

UK release:

Wed Oct 3, 2012

Duration:

103 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Stephen Chbosky

Screenwriter:

Stephen Chbosky

Cast:

Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Logan Lerman, Paul Rudd

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|16
1 person listening
Codie Smith

This movie was absolutely phenomenal and I loved every minute of it. The book was so powerful and Emma, Logan and Ezra captured all the emotions that were required to make this film as big as it is.

Codie Smith

This movie was absolutely phenomenal and I loved every minute of it. The book was so powerful and Emma, Logan and Ezra captured all the emotions that were required to make this film as big as it is.

Uriah

The story was beautiful when I read it in the book, and the movie was pretty good. I was surprised because most movies made after novels are a disappointment. Emma, Logan and Ezra were brilliant as the group of unlikely friends. In a way, you could relate to at least one of the characters in the story. A DISH coworker convinced me to see the movie, and I did like it a lot. I liked it so much that I added it to my queue on Blockbuster @Home from DISH. It will be mailed to my home, so I won’t have to run to the Redbox to see if it’s even there.

Uriah

The story was beautiful when I read it in the book, and the movie was pretty good. I was surprised because most movies made after novels are a disappointment. Emma, Logan and Ezra were brilliant as the group of unlikely friends. In a way, you could relate to at least one of the characters in the story. A DISH coworker convinced me to see the movie, and I did like it a lot. I liked it so much that I added it to my queue on Blockbuster @Home from DISH. It will be mailed to my home, so I won’t have to run to the Redbox to see if it’s even there.

Gary

I enjoyed it, the three leads were impressive and it feels sincere without being mawkish. I related to Charlie alot and the film triggered some of my most painful feelings, which then made me notice how mild the film is in comparison to my life. Though, I must say that being a wallflower has no perks whatsoever, and many "wallflowers" are not befriended by anyone. Charlie is in fact very lucky compared to many wallflowers, certainly compared to me.

Jools

Loathsome characters, even I wasn't that shallow and pretentious as a teenager. All are far too good-looking to be believable wallflowers, and he plump girl doesn't get the boy. Ghastly crap

scrumpyjack

This is 12a pathicness at it's most extreme. PLEASE, buy (or rent) HAPPINESS, THE WOODSMAN or, best off, MYSTERIOUS SKIN........maybe eave RAIN MAN.....what ever the f*** you do, DON'T watch this.....adult theams for the POTTER crowd. 3/10

odd

Thought it was a bit odd. There didn't seem to be a sense of where anything was going, plot-wise, and the flashbacks were pretty disturbing. Not exactly enjoyable because of this, though the three leads were very very good. I also didn't think there was a problem with them having never heard Bowie. Was annoyed that some scenes that appeared in the trailer didn't appear in the actual film. Wish they'd stop doing that!

JayneM

A most enjoyable coming of age film. It was quite emotional & I really felt for the 3 mail characters, all who had their own demons. Emma Watson was brilliant, as were the 2 male main characters. Also a brilliant soundtrack.

Ian

Have to agree with Guy that the film loses a great deal when you have to accept that for geeks who know the minutae of The Smiths they seem to know nothing of one of Bowie's greatest hits. In the hands of a more experienced and better director this could have been a classic. It could have been the Pretty in Pink for this generation. It shows in a gentle and endearing way that social misfits actually can and do have fun and probably a better time than the jocks and pretty girls that normally dominate vacuous American teen movies. Take three emotionally damaged teens all in their own way endearing and lovable and watch them through a year that changes their life. Fabulous music and a totally divine Emma Watson who would make depression and angst a not totally bad place to be.

Ed

Loved it. Highly emotional and enjoyable, great 80s soundtrack. Recommended.

john o sullivan

THOUGHT FOR A MAINSTREAM AMERICAN FILM IT WAS AMAZING.. FLAWED SO WHAT ADMITEDLY THE COCTEAUS,SMITHS AND NEW ORDER COLOURED MY EMOTIONS BUT IT FELT REAL ND GOSH EMMA CAN ACT