TIFF Capsule Review: ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’

TIFF Capsule Review: 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'

In Stephen Chbosky’s largely endearing adaptation of his own young-adult novel, nothing says “I love you” like a painstakingly crafted mix tape. The early-‘90s setting for The Perks of Being a Wallflower means that the potentially precious references to Smiths songs are appropriate to the period even if the film – which touches on issues of sexual identity and mental illness – exhibits a more contemporary sort of frankness in regards to portrayals of teens on screen. Institutionalized after the suicide of his best friend, our loner hero Charlie (Logan Lerman) is none too happy about starting high school. But things look up when he befriends Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), two seniors who are proud to be misfits. (Paul Rudd also makes a brief appearance as an English teacher who encourages Charlie’s interests in reading and writing.) Though its episodic storyline and erratic momentum prevent Chbosky’s second directorial effort from reaching the vaunted heights of John Hughes’ high-school melodramas, it has considerable charm and no small amount of poignancy thanks to the performances. Miller is particularly strong as a less menacing kind of teen than the one he played in We Need to Talk About Kevin. Criticwire grade: B [Jason Anderson]

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