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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Year: 2012
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Writer: Stephen Chbosky
Cast: Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd, Dylan McDermott, Tom Savini

The lead character is a shy, awkward teen who wants to be a writer? Check. He falls in with a group of misfit friends, falling hopelessly in love with the leading lady? Check. He has the summer/semester of his life? Check. They all wear hipster clothes and it's all done to an alt/folk rock soundtrack? Check.

Until the last ten minutes, I yawned through this movie wondering how many more times in my life I had to sit through the same story, how many times some boutique production company would buy the rights to a cool cult novel, how many more times a star who'd made a name on a big franchise signed on, desperate to prove indie acting chops. See? Even the behind the scenes story is the same every time.

And I'll admit that when it turned unexpectedly dark in the last couple of scenes, it went somewhere I hadn't been expecting and made the bland lead character Charlie (Lerman) much more interesting.

He plays a kid starting high school who makes no friends but his English teacher (Rudd). Eventually he somehow falls in with school crazy Patrick (Miller) and his half sister Sam (Watson), two seniors. With their devil-may-care attitude and mixtape motifs (the only clue about when the movie is set), they lead Charlie on a series of soul-searching adventures...all the time mooning about how hard life is while their parents slave away to keep rooves over their ungrateful fucking little heads.

Charlie's past and the Aunt he loves so much (Lynskey) is only hinted at until we learn what happened to her and what happened in Charlie's life that made him the way he is. It's when his friends leave for college that he melts down and we learn the truth behind his past, his beloved Aunt, and why – when he calls his sister during his episode – she asks a friend to send the police to their house before he hurts himself.

But up until that dramatically intriguing aside, it's the same I'll-never-fit-what-cool-weird-friends-I-suddenly-have story as old as teenagerdom itself.

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