The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012, Stephen Chbosky)

Stephen Chbosky adapted a novel by Stephen Chbosky (based partly on the life of Stephen Chbosky) for director (and executive producer) Stephen Chbosky. Sounds like a recipe for a bland, safe movie made by someone too close to the material, but it turned out very well, and features the best cinematic use of David Bowie’s Heroes to date (plus a fair amount of Morrissey).

Charlie (Lightning Thief star Logan Lerman), a high school freshman in the early 90’s had only one friend, who just died, so Charlie spent the summer in an institution having dark thoughts. He’s a nerdy loner at school, only ever talking to English teacher Paul Rudd, but greatly improves when he starts hanging out with Patrick (Ezra Miller, title murderer in We Need to Talk About Kevin) and Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman, Ann from Arrested Development, also in Scott Pilgrim) and hottie Emma Watson (of those Harry Potter movies).

Much high-school drama ensues. Charlie joins the older kids’ Rocky Horror show and defends Patrick from homophobes, but doesn’t go after Emma because he is too shy. Belated plot thread when the other kids graduate and Charlie reveals to cast latecomer Joan Cusack that his dead aunt touched him inappropriately. We get a good feeling at the end, like Charlie (an aspiring writer) will be alright, possibly write a memoir-novel of these experiences, adapt it to a screenplay, maybe executive-produce and direct a film version full of Bowie and Morrissey songs.

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