The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie review: A boy blossoms

Sep 21, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. ET

This delicate coming-of-age movie stars Harry Potter’s Emma Watson as the manic-pixie-dream-girl who serves as the catalyst for one teen boy’s journey out of desperate self-loathing and into life.

Emma Watson is in The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Perfect for anyone who’s ever lived through
the hell that is high school

Logan Lerman plays Charlie, a ninth-grader beginning high school after taking a break from public life. His best friend shot himself a year prior, and Charlie's been emotionally distraught since then. Friendless, he's dreading the first day of school.

Though Charlie thinks it's pathetic, the first friend he makes is his English teacher (Paul Rudd), who makes Charlie believe he can be a professional writer.

Soon, Charlie makes friends with class clown Patrick (Ezra Miller) and his step-sister Sam (Emma Watson), who is trying to turn around a bad rep as being "easy." Suddenly, Charlie's whole world opens up as Sam and Patrick drag him along to their various social events.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Charlie tries drugs for the first time and even gets a first kiss from Sam, who has a college boyfriend but tells Charlie she really wants his first kiss to be with someone who loves him. Sam's first kiss, when she was 11, was from her father's boss — ew. It's easy to see why she she's been acting out sexually.

Patrick packs his own drama, particularly when Charlie walks in on Patrick kissing one of the macho football players: awkward. But Charlie tells Patrick his secret is safe with him. What Charlie doesn't know is that high school is wrought with secrets and many of them cause great emotional pain, whether kept or revealed.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Charlie is hopelessly in love with Sam — and who could blame him? Emma Watson is lovely with her pixie cut and plays Sam with youthful irreverence and curiosity.

Logan Lerman plays Charlie as a boy eager to become a man, but not in control of his past. Seems Charlie has his own dark secrets of sexaul abuse, and through the courage he's gained from his new friends, he can finally face them.

Bottom line: The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deftly told coming-of-age film that deals with more than bullying or broken hearts. It explores what it's like for three teens who want to mature sexually and socially but have deep-seated obstacles in their way. Warning: You may need a box of tissues. Enjoy!

Photo credit: Lionsgate Films