‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ nicely captures high school angst

Logan Lerman and Emma Watson in ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower.’ PG-13, 103 min. Summit Entertainment.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is the type of thoughtful and sincere coming-of-age drama that families should be happy is still being made. In an impressive feat that speaks to his many talents, director Stephen Chbosky adapted the screenplay from his own novel.

The plot follows lonely high school freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman) as he struggles with fitting in, and is eventually befriended by oddball seniors Sam (a shining Emma Watson) and her step-brother Patrick (the animated Ezra Miller). The large and talented cast is rounded out by Mae Whitman, Nina Dobrev, Paul Rudd, Kate Walsh, Dylan McDermott and Melanie Lynskey.

Lerman is effortlessly realistic and sympathetic in his portrayal of a complicated young man. His story could easily lead to frank discussions about first love, sex, drugs, mental illness, college, and any number of young-adult topics that parents stay away from, but films adore. The heavy-handed style comes across as a bit pretentious at times, perhaps aiming art house ambitions over the heads of the intended audience. Still, no matter what your age, you will relate to the universal story and vivid characters in ways that may surprise you.

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