Wallflower the New Breakfast Club
- Friday, September 28, 2012
DVD Release Date: February 12, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: September 21, 2012 (limited); September 28 (expanded)
Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material, drug and alcohol use, sexual contact (including references) and a fight, all involving teens
Run Time: 103 min.
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Cast: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh, Nina Dobrev, Paul Rudd, Melanie Lynskey
While modern technology has certainly come a long, long way and today’s hairstyles are far less embarrassing, the depiction of high school life in The Perks of Being a Wallflower really isn’t all that different than it was in 1985 when the late John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club was the movie du jour.
In fact, the immortal words of The Breakfast Club’s resident jock Andrew Clark could practically be Wallflower’s chief thesis: "We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all."
Capturing those high school years in all their awkward glory, writer/director Stephen Chbosky, who also penned the best-selling novel by the same name, definitely has his finger on the pulse of the joys, fears and angst that most high schoolers deal with. While we'd like to think—or hope, anyway—that teenagers have become more sophisticated and less mean than we were, the film only confirms the unsettling reality that bullying, hazing and cruel antics are alive and well.
No wonder then that Charlie (Logan Lerman, Percy Jackson & the Olympians), the shy, bookish protagonist who everyone’s whispering about when the school year starts already has a running countdown to graduation. Just 1,384 more days, and he’s free.
The main reason Charlie keeps to himself is that he's already been through a lot outside the classroom. Ever since his best friend committed suicide, he's simply been unable to cope. Even with a team of psychologists at his disposal and prescribed meds, he can’t seem to shake a sinking feeling of utter hopelessness. Underscoring his despair, he barely left his house during summer break and spoke to almost no one, save for the occasional family member.
Now beginning his freshman year, Charlie narrates his experiences in a diary he calls "Friend." Seeing how even his family walks on eggshells around him, he feels positively invisible to the world. But when a senior girl named Sam (Harry Potter alumna Emma Watson) takes an interest in this wallflower’s well-being and insists he join her on the "island of misfit toys," it’s a real game-changer.
Describing Sam as "the kind of pretty that deserves to make a big deal out of itself," Charlie is immediately drawn to the fact that she doesn’t see herself that way. Naturally, he falls for her—and hard—but she's already dating a total jerk. A faithful friend, though, Sam introduces Charlie to the rest of the lovable oddballs she hangs around with including Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), "Ponytail" Derek (Nicholas Braun, The Watch) and the loudest of them all, the wise-cracking, constantly philosophizing Patrick (Ezra Miller, We Need to Talk About Kevin).
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