Review: The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Perks is a whiney, self-absorbed teen drama, set in the early-1990s, about a whiney, self-absorbed outsider who is having tough time adapting to life at high school until he hooks up with some older, whiney, self-absorbed outsiders and becomes marginally happier with his lot as a result.
Stephen Chbosky's screenplay, adapted from his book, indulges his young characters and their sufferings completely.
It is such a bog standard view of teen angst – there's the Inspiring and Understanding English Teacher (Paul Rudd) who gets our young protagonist (a would-be writer, naturally) to read Catcher in the Rye; the quarterback who is a closet homosexual and there are posters of The Smiths everywhere.
For someone who was last seen playing D'Artaganan, Logan Lerman makes a credible sensitive outsider and Emma Watson steps out from playing Hermione, but the pick of the cast is Ezra Miller who, resembling an unlikely cross between Jimmy Fallon and Richard Ashcroft, plays the flamboyantly gay Patrick, the third point in the central triangle.
He has previously impressed playing the older version of the Kevin We Need To Talk About, and gives the film what little zest it has. Watson doesn't quite fit in; like she was a guest star in a long- running series.
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Adolescence is a delicate and awkward period in anyone's life with all those embarrassingly exaggerated emotions. If it is/was a precious time in your life you may well identify strongly, feeling it really captures that time.
For almost anyone else it will be vaguely repelling listening to these pampered youths fretting over whether they will succeed in getting into that top university and if precisely every single one of their ambitions will be realised.
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And then whenever you feel yourself turning into Michael Gove and think what this lot need are a few cold showers and a cross-country run, Chbosky will throw some genuine trauma at them to show that they really are suffering.
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (12A)
Director: Stephen Chbosky Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd, Dylan McDermott and Joan Cusack
Length: 103 mins