The Perks of Being a Wallflower
2012
***
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Cast: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Mae Whitman, Paul Rudd, Nina Dobrev, Johnny Simmons, Kate Walsh

Stephen Chbosky debut feature is adapted from his own autobiographical novel. The story is set in the 1990s, and the protagonist (rather arrogantly, I must say) is the only smart and open-minded kid in the class, and an aspiring writer who is blessed with an exquisite taste in all things cultural. In his freshman year in high school, the 14-year-old Charlie feels like an outsider until he befriends two cool senior students, the adorable Sam and her gay stepbrother Patrick. The characters are well drawn and nicely played, and the film is perfectly enjoyable. However, don’t expect to find any great insight into teenage life in the hero’s somewhat clichéd experimentations with sex, drugs and heartbreak. Charlie’s history with mental problems adds an original twist to the proceedings, but Chbosky seems to remember this story strand only when he needs it to serve the coming-of-age plot.