80’s teenagers had it all. The haircuts. The clothes. And of course, the music. An 80s teenager himself, writer/director Stephen Chbosky has turned his novel into something like a film a tribute to 80s music in general, and The Smiths in particular.
Our Smiths-loving hero is Charlie, who’s quietly counting down the thousands of days he has left of high school while trying not to let his particular brand of depression eat him alive. When Charlie makes friends with fellow Morrissey devotees Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson), things get much better and much worse all at the same time.
Wallflower isn’t trying to say anything particularly new about young love and friendship, but it is trying to say something sincere. It succeeds thanks to the touching, understated performances Chbosky draws out of his young cast.
Emma Watson, now faced with the task of distancing herself from Potter-land, decouples herself from over-the-top Hermoine convincingly here. Logan Lerman brings a lovely fragility to Charlie, deftly hinting at the seething mess he’s keeping under the surface. But it’s Ezra Miller as the wisecracking Patrick who has a truly electric screen presence. Best see him now, so you can say you were a fan before he was a huge star.
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER releases in AUSTRALIA on NOVEMBER 29, 2012 through ROADSHOW FILMS