‘Wallflower’ brings laughter and tears

For fans of the best-selling book, the movie adaptation of “Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a fantastic version that is sure to make even the most stoic of seniors grow nostalgic. For those who haven’t read it, the movie should still not be missed.

The story follows Charlie (played by an unbelievable Logan Lerman), an incoming freshman who has suffered from depression and painful shyness all throughout middle school. Upon entering high school, he is taken under the wing of two seniors: the music-savvy, philosophical Sam (Emma Watson, in her first role after Hermione) and the spontaneous, flamboyant Patrick (Ezra Miller- I’ll be talking about him later).

They teach him about friendship, good music, and living life to the fullest. The storyline is satisfyingly complex and simultaneously depressing and uplifting, while the cinematography utilizes some very interesting shots (notably during one scene when Charlie is high on LSD). However, it’s the acting that carries the movie along.

Lerman is the perfect choice to play Charlie – he’s twitchy, introverted, and has a perfect balance of instability and desperation in his eyes. In other words, he’s that one freshman that sits alone at a table during lunch and never speaks during class. It’s a nice role, verging on greatness when Charlie begins having a mental breakdown (provoking some looks from Lerman that almost fry the film in the camera).

Watson, on the other hand, has obviously made a conscious effort to take long steps away from her role as Hermione and it works to an extent. She is satisfyingly adorable and American (trading her natural English accent for an American one), but falls flat at times.

The standout cast member is Miller, who takes on a challenge: playing a self-proclaimed “queer as a three-dollar bill” senior who has more underlying issues and snark than a sorority house. He is simply a joy to watch, from his snappy dialogue to moments of loud silence. He is easily the most interesting character, and the movie is worth seeing just because of his performance.

The film does suffer from what I like to call “Underdeveloped Minor Character Syndrome,” with a few of Charlie’s other friends falling flat. Additionally, the interesting roles of an English teacher (played by the always enjoyable Paul Rudd) and Charlie’s older sister (Nina Dobrev) disappear into the mix. But overall, “Perks of Being a Wallflower” is an adorable, touching film that should not be missed (seniors, bring some tissues; those graduation scenes are pretty misty).

4.3/5 stars