TODAY Online
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 11:30 | By Genevieve Loh

Movie Review: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (NC16, 103 min) / 3.5 / 5 stars / The 'A' teen

A charming and touching film about growing pains and other foibles


The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

SINGAPORE - We've all been through it: The teen angst, emotional turmoil, insecurity and hormonal disarray of those awkward adolescent years.

Which is why there will always be "coming-of-age" movies for every generation. The trick, however, is to rise above the sea of mediocrity that is yet another drama about contemplative teenagers and their oh-too-precious "feelings". And boy did Stephen Chbosky manage to hit that sweet spot on his first go.

The man who has the rare claim of directing his own bestselling novel, which he also adapted for the silver screen, clearly cares about all his main characters, thus giving the film purity of voice and purpose. Together with his young cast and their wonderful performances, Chbosky manages to eschew the now all-too-typical quirky indie flick formula to deliver one soulful, honest charmer.

Regardless of age, the audience will be inexplicably drawn into the world where young Charlie (played by Logan Lerman) negotiates the trials and tribulations of first love, friendships and personal trauma. Lerman more than ups his game in this one, and makes us really care for his sensitive, neurotic and wounded Charlie; while Emma Watson grows up from Harry Potter with just enough quirk, charisma and spunk as Sam, Charlie's crush (the teen version of cinema's proverbial "manic pixie dream girl").

But it is outstanding Ezra Miller, the boy wonder who follows up his hauntingly award-worthy role in We Need To Talk About Kevin with a show-stealing turn as Patrick, Charlie's new best friend and Sam's step-brother. One of Hollywood's next-big-things, Miller's perceptive talent, versatility and infectious screen presence is the film's highlight.

It is obvious Chbosky directs with necessary heart, sharp observance and delicate balance, especially when dealing with an emotionally hefty and difficult final act. With the winning combination of well-meaning earnestness, a self-aware script, stirring soundtrack and affecting performances, this is one coming-of-age film that will most undoubtedly touch and charm even the most hardened of cynics and critics.

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