Young Trio of Actors Are Award Worthy
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (2012/IN THEATERS) Directed by Stephen Chobsky and based on his best-selling 1999 book of the same title, this coming of age film is set in the early 1990s and centers on Charlie (Logan Lerman), a high school freshman who is painfully shy….and as we learn by the end of the film, for good reasons. As the movie opens, Charlie is just out of some kind of residential counseling and has spent his summer mostly holed up with his parents (played lovingly by Dylan McDermott and Kate Walsh), writing the occasional letter to an unnamed sympathetic friend. He’s extremely bright, but nervously holds back. High School, then and now, is brutal and even Charlie’s sister won’t sit with him in the cafeteria. Luckily his English teacher Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd) takes an interest in Charlie and loans him classic works to read. Also lucky for him, Charlie is befriended by a flamboyant (i.e. gay) classmate from his shop class named Patrick (a show-stealing Ezra Miller). Patrick is quick to take Charlie under his wing and introduces him to his stepsister Sam (Emma Watson, in a “breakout” post-Harry Potter role) who is an insecure but fascinating young woman. Charlie falls for her almost immediately. But, of course, Patrick and Sam are seniors and will soon be heading to college. They welcome Charlie into their circle, introducing him to the “wallflowers” and their active partying scene that includes Alice B Toklas brownies, booze, and even stints on stage as part of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But high school life is complicated, as we all know, and eventually Charlie has a falling out with the group—not his fault really, but painful to watch. As the film progresses, we learn more about Charlie’s past through a series of flashbacks, primarily concerned with his Aunt Helen (Melanie Lynskey) and her unfortunate death in a car accident, while the movie builds to a meaningful conclusion. Viewers and critics alike have given this film high ratings: 96% from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes, 86% from critics. It is already up for two People’s Choice Awards: one for Favorite Dramatic Movie and another for Emma Watson as Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress. (Cast your vote now at PeoplesChoic.com.) I would expect to see Ezra Miller getting some nods during the upcoming awards season along with Logan Lerman—maybe from the Independent Spirits? Golden Globes? Who knows. All of these young actors really deliver and bring their roles alive. As you watch the movie, parts of it will surely remind you of your favorite John Hughes classics—mine is always Sixteen Candles. Perks has some of that same lightness and of course, all high schools do look the same, but I think there’s a more serious tone to this one ultimately—so be prepared.