Reece Thompson (left), Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Mae Whitman are pretty perfect in Perks.
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER written and directed by Stephen Chbosky, based on his novel, with Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller and Melanie Lynskey. An eOne Entertainment release. 103 minutes. Opens Friday (September 28). See listings. Rating: NNNN
Stephen Chbosky makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of his 1999 young-adult novel about a teenager (Logan Lerman) just starting to come out of his shell after a traumatic experience, thanks mostly to the prodding of new school friends (Emma Watson, Ezra Miller).
It's set in Pittsburgh about 20 years ago, and Chbosky gets the period absolutely right. Not only are the clothes and fads rendered accurately, but the movie also nails the sense of isolation and confusion that existed before the internet allowed us to answer any question in a heartbeat.
Lerman's withdrawn, hesitant performance contrasts nicely with Watson and Miller's ebullience, and his scenes with Paul Rudd (as a sympathetic English teacher) are wonderful.
This could have been pap. It's anything but.