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Perks of Being a Wallflower, The (Blu-ray Review)

14 Feb, 2013 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Box Office $17.74 million
$29.95 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for mature thematic material, drug and alcohol use, sexual content including references, and a fight — all involving teens.
Stars Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Mae Whitman, Nina Dobrev, Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh, Joan Cusack, Paul Rudd.

Like most entering high school, Charlie (Logan Lerman) is in search of affirmation, acceptance and friendship on his first day. What sets him apart is that he’s struggling through some serious past hurts, including a mental breakdown caused by the suicide of his best friend.

As Charlie enters the cold climate of bullying and popularity contests, it’s as good a time as any for the bibliophile to get some real friends, aside from his compassionate English teacher (played effortlessly by Paul Rudd). Thankfully, Charlie gets along famously with eccentric seniors and stepsiblings Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson), who, while they are outsiders, give their young underling a sense of belonging.

Just as things begin looking up for Charlie, his demons come back to torment him, revealing several deep issues foreshadowed with flashbacks and visions. Along the rocky road, Charlie learns to step out from the background and fight for all that’s good in his life.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age story that will make viewers laugh and cry while living the clique’s quintessential high school experiences — first kisses, unrequited loves, lunchroom politics, awkward dances, recreational drug use and all.

Based on the novel by Stephen Chbosky (who also directs) and set in the 1990s, Perks has a timeless quality. Lerman, Watson and Miller tug on heartstrings and immediately lead viewers to root for them.

Chbosky’s commentary is a must, as the Pittsburgh native regales viewers with hidden gems about life on set and the storyline, as well as tales about his hometown. A featurette shows how quickly genuine friendships forged between the three leads, while a healthy stash of deleted scenes, with optional commentary, reveal some of the characters’ veiled layers. Watch “The Poem” scene first. You won’t regret it.

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