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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

We are infinite. 

Year: 2012 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Stephen Chbosky 
Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller  
An image from The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is based on the fantastic teen novel of the same name, a thoughtful read which plays like Catcher in the Rye with a Gen X twist. Over the last decade the book has become a cherished title within its genre and now author Steven Chbosky brings the tale to the big screen, undertaking both directorial and adaptation duties.

Charlie (Logan Lerman) is about to start High School, and is understandably anxious. After a few days of loneliness, Charlie meets Sam (Emma Watson in acceptable form) and Patrick (Ezra Miller, outstandingly watchable) a pair of seniors who take the nervous freshman under their wing. Introducing him to their misfit selection of friends, Sam and Patrick help Charlie come out of his shell, exposing him to new music, strong bonds and even marijuana in one particularly amusing scene. However despite his newfound contentment, Charlie is still left to grapple with familial strife, the radical lifestyles of his new buddies and the painful memory of his deceased Aunt Helen (Melanie Lynsky).

The young cast buoy The Perks of Being a Wallflower effectively, allowing Chbosky to turn his attention to story mechanics and accurate period detail. Much of the film’s coming of age pathos translates successfully onto celluloid, albeit devotees of the novel might take issue with particular narrative cuts and editorial choices (the relationship between Charlie and his troubled sister gets disappointingly short shrift). Still, the central friendships and themes are articulated vibrantly and with genuine sincerity, particularly the dynamic that develops between the protagonist and his ludicrously encouraging English teacher (a lovable Paul Rudd).

As an exploration of friendship, universal pain, sexual awakening and first love, The Perks of Being a Wallflower should find a lot of favour amongst genre aficionados. It’s not as life-affirming or powerful as its deservedly revered source, but this adaptation should still satisfy those in pursuit of emotionally ambitious and poignantly composed cinema.

Daniel Kelly

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Screenings of this film:

2012/2013 Spring Term (35mm)
2012/2013 Spring Term (35mm)