"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" was released in limited theaters September 21, but more theaters have added the film to their line-up over time. Fortunately, it was directed, produced, and written by author Stephen Chbosky, so even if the movie's not your cup of tea, at least Chbosky was in control of the creative process.
I was originally interested in the story because I was curious to see Emma Watson play someone other than Hermione Granger. She acted excellently as Sam, a misfit high school senior who suffers from a scandalous reputation. The film's star Charlie (played by Logan Lerman) falls in love with Sam as he struggles with the deaths of his aunt and best friend. For a more complete summary of the novel, read my review here.
Moviegoers will recognize familiar faces, such as Paul Rudd, who plays Charlie's supportive English teacher Mr. Anderson (known as Bill in the book). Kate Walsh, Dylan McDermott, and Melanie Lynskey play Charlie's mother, father, and aunt, respectively.
But the real star, in my opinion, was Ezra Miller, who plays Sam's step-brother Patrick. This role puts this relatively unknown 20-year-old actor in the spotlight, as his character faces hate and heartbreak after falling in love with the school's quarterback. On the surface, he's a witty wisecrack performing in Rocky Horror, but underneath he emotes the pain of a boy who just wants to be accepted for who he is. Miller has been open about his own queer identity with the press, and it's nice to see this conversation about equality both on and off-screen.
My complaints about Charlie's grating personality in the novel aren't present in the film; because you're not stuck in his head 24-7, you can better appreciate his emotional journey. I felt that the distance which usually creates a disconnect between mediums actually made the film more enjoyable than the book.
Granted, it is an "indie" character-driven story, full of teen angst and controversial social issues, so if you'd rather watch an action-packed thriller, I highly recommend "Looper" with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. But if you want to witness some great acting from Hollywood's rising stars and sink into the nostalgia of your youth, "Perks" has just enough--you guessed it, perks--to keep you entertained.