Moviegoers in select cities are about to feel infinite over the coming arrival of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” writer-director Stephen Chbosky’s adaptation of his own 1999 novel.
Starring “Percy Jackson” and “Three Musketeers” star Logan Lerman as a socially ostracized youth looking to survive the horrors and hallways of high school, “Perks” offers plenty of food for thought for those still brushing up against locker room woes, and even — especially, really — those who put gym class and school buses behind them long ago. With winning performances from co-stars Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, not to mention a deft handling of delicate subject matter throughout the film, “Perks” is poised to please fans of the original book and newcomers alike.
Read on for our review round-up of “Perks,” playing in New York City and Los Angeles theaters now.
“It’s set in 1991 in a tranquil section of Pittsburgh, where Charlie (Logan Lerman), a freshman who has spent time in a mental ward, is quiet and shy mostly because he’s frightened of how precocious he is. He falls in with a clique of smart kids, most of whom are seniors, and though he thinks he’s in love with the no- nonsense Sam (Emma Watson), the drama isn’t in whether they become an item. It’s in watching Charlie snap out of his wallflower cocoon by waking up to the real romance in his life: the one with his newfound chums.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
From Hogwarts To Pittsburgh
“As Hermione Granger, Watson had a particular set of tics and mannerisms that evolved over the course of the ’Harry Potter’ series. Here, I don’t see any of that at all. It is such a shift for her, and she’s so natural and real here, that I think this would count as the beginning of her adult career. It’s a lovely nuanced performance, and at this point, it’s impossible not to take note of just how striking she’s become.” — Drew McWeeny, HitFix.com
Not A Nothing
“’Perks’ is stolen, head to tail, by Ezra Miller (sensational as Tilda Swinton’s psycho son in ’We Need to Talk About Kevin’). Miller is a force of healing nature as Patrick, Sam’s gay stepbrother. For Charlie, Patrick reps a world where feelings get expressed, where problems get talked out. Miller brings stinging humor and surprising tenderness to Patrick, two qualities Charlie needs badly.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
The Big, Dark Secret
“We know from the beginning that Charlie had been hospitalized and over the course of the story, when things aren’t going as well, the film returns to the first person narrative that opened the film as he writes letters to a mysterious ’friend,’ and we start getting hints to what happened that drove him to that point as the film gets progressively darker. The last ten minutes of the movie and a big reveal about Charlie’s past may go a bit too far for some, but it’s a real testament to Chbosky that he knows how to end on a high note.” — Edward Douglas, ComingSoon.net
The Final Word
“Part ’Garden State,’ part ’Wonderboys,’ and with a smidgeon of ’American Beauty’ thrown in for good measure, ’The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ is a must-see for fans of the coming-of-age drama. At its worse, it leans toward a maudlin overly-dramatic high school mentality, but that’s around 100 seconds of a 102 minute film, nothing too serious. At it’s best, it is indeed very, very good, an artful film in the truest sense of the word, holding a mirror up to your memories, even if they never existed there at all.” — Laremy Legel, Film.com
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”