A freshman haunted by the suicide of his best friend begins to look at life differently with the help of two high school seniors and his English teacher.
Charlie (Logan Lerman) haplessly enters his freshman year ostracized by his classmates; the suicide of his best friend and the circumstances surrounding the death of his aunt have left him psychologically fragile and withdrawn socially. It is not that the teenager is lost in his own little world, trouble is he is keenly aware of the pain that is being suffered by others and it deepens his depression. Circumstances change when Charlie befriends Patrick (Ezra Miller), the class clown from shop class, at a football game which in turns leads to him being introduced by to his peer’s step-sister Sam (Emma Watson).
The two free-spirited high school seniors taking the wayward freshman under their wing and open his eyes to the possibility of there being enjoyment in life. The trouble is as Charlie becomes more emotionally entwined with his newfound friends he can be seen beneath the veneer and see a prevailing sadness; when he turns to his English teacher (Paul Rudd), who has become a writing mentor and big brother surrogate; the wisdom receives is that people go out with those they think they deserve. In other words, it is a case of low self-esteem. Charlie seeks to rectify the situation but in the process has to face his own personal demons. Helping to provide insights to the mental state of the protagonist are a series of letters he writes to an imagery friend.
A movie directed by a rookie filmmaker adapting his own book for the big screen plus it -being a coming-of-age tale seem to spell trouble; I found myself being pleasantly surprised by the cinematic expertise and the mature handling of the subject matter. The use of music would make John Hughes proud, while the performance of Logan Lerman follows in the footsteps of Timothy Hutton in Ordinary People (1980) and River Phoenix in Running on Empty (1988); there is a genuineness which is endearing and deeply moving as their cinematic personas seek to find their own identity.
It was refreshing to have the parents of Charlie played by Dylan McDermott and Kate Walsh not treated as buffoons or bullies. As for Emma Watson she will forever be tied to Harry Potter but the young actress will be able to have a career beyond the blockbuster franchise. Ezra Miller handles his gay role boarding on cliché; however, it never seems to go over-the-top. A major misgiving is that the student/teacher relationship feels more like filler and it is worthy of more screen time. The Perks of Being a Wallflower packs an emotional wallop which will likely lessen upon future viewings; nevertheless it makes quite a first impression.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ? ? ? ? / Movie ? ? ? ?