So… Roger Ebert (a top film critic who writes for the Chicago Tribune) just gave ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower a positive review!
Toronto #1: Good films are back in season
[This year’s festival opened Thursday, but some titles were shown early to critics in a few other cities, and I can promise you that on Saturday the festival will showcase one of the best films of the year.]
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" premieres at Toronto on Saturday and Sunday, and offers the unexpected pleasure of an author directing the film of his own novel, and doing it perhaps as well as anyone could have. Stephen Chbosky’s best-selling coming of age novel was published in 1999 and has taken on some of the cult status of The Catcher in the Rye. Unlike many movies about high school, this one is full-bodied and deeply knowledgeable about human nature. The actors make plausible teenagers. We care about them.
The movie, set in the late 1980s, is the story of Charlie (Logan Lerman), who tells it as a series of letters to a “friend.” He enters high school uncertainly and without confidence, and is rescued from that great and universal freshman crisis: Which table in the lunchroom will they let me sit at? He’s welcomed to the table of two smart and sympathetic seniors. These are Sam and Patrick, played by Emma Watson in a vast departure from the Harry Potter movies, and Ezra Miller, who was so remarkable as an alienated teenager in “We Need to Talk About Kevin.” Charlie makes the mistake of assuming they are a couple, and Sam’s laughter forgives him; actually, they’re half-siblings.
Patrick is tall and gangly; Sam is—well, like Emma Watson but with a flawless American accent. We learn a lot about their high school crowd by finding out they’re instrumental in the local midnight showings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Their crowd is artsy, outsider, non-conformist. They become the influence that rescues Charlie from his deep insecurity and his depression over the suicide of a friend; essentially, they teach him it’s okay to be who he is. In his first year he learns a little, very tentatively, about sex, drinking and drugs, and a lot about friendship. Watching this film was an unalloyed pleasure. The movie opens soon, on Sept. 21.