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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Oct 22, 2012

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower Review: A Hit In Manila, A Flop In The U.S.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower" has just been released in the U.S. and it’s doing lukewarm business. It was first released in Manila a month ago and was a hit here. Nerds and outcasts in school were able to relate to the portrayal of teen angst in this movie written and directed by Stephen Chbosky (known for the TV series “Jericho”) based on his own 1999 novel.

Set in the 90s to give it a nostalgic feel, the lead character and narrator is Charlie (Logan Lerman of “Percy Jackson”), a high school freshman and aspiring writer who leads a lonely life and keeps to himself to avoid bullies in school. He’s pretty isolated until he’s befriended by a high school senior, Emma (Emma Watson), and her gay stepbrother, Patrick (Ezra Miller), who stage live performances of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. They all have their own hang ups and insecurities, but the feeling of belonging with them has a positive influence on Charlie who falls in love with Emma. Then the school year ends. Emma and Ezra soon have to leave for college.

The movie doesn’t really have any new idea or insight about the tribulations of adolescence. Then Charlie suddenly has a nervous breakdown and is confined in the hospital. It turns out he has a deep dark secret. This dark turn about being an abused child is jarring. It seems to have come from another movie and was just suddenly inserted for some dramatic and cathartic revelation. It’s good Logan Lerman plays Charlie with great heart and insight.

But it’s Emma Watson who succeeds in distancing herself from her “Harry Potter” persona. As Sam, she makes us forget her Hermione character, showing a good range of acting abilities that make her upstage Lerman every now and then. It’s clear her post-Hogwarts career is worth paying attention to. Ezra Miller is also good as the gay Patrick who figures in a deadly love affair with a school jock. Among the adult members of the cast, only Paul Rudd leaves an impression as the supportive English teacher.