He’s already counting down the days until he’s out of there. That is, until he falls in with a couple of other misfits: Sam (Emma Watson), a senior, and her half-brother, Patrick (Ezra Miller, We Need to Talk About Kevin), who his classmates refer to as Nothing. They spend all of their time together, attending parties, driving around town, catching The Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight shows.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is based on the 1999 book by Stephen Chbosky, who so felt the need to bring his story to the screen that he rewrote it as a screenplay and signed on as director. (That he couldn’t trust anyone else with his precious novel says volumes about Chbosky’s infatuation with himself and his work.)
That young adult book is, in essence, The Catcher in the Rye-lite, filled with the sort of angst that only social outcasts could understand. The problem with both the book and the movie adaptation is that it’s hard to believe many of the characters or their situations. Charlie, Sam, Patrick, and fellow wallflower Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman, Arrested Development) all come off, sooner or later, as composites, and they all, in the span of a school year, come across suicide, homosexuality, freshman hazing, underage drinking and drugging, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and on and on.
Chbosky thinks he’s capturing the essence of high school, but he’s really just overdramatizing every element he could come up with. And the only ones he’s fooling are those on the brink of their freshman year.
Audio commentary with Stephen Chbosky, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Johnny Simmons, Emma Watson, Mae Whitman, and Wilhelmi: Chbosky and his cast (who play Charlie, Patrick, Brad, Sam, Mary Elizabeth, and Alice, respectively) sit down for a crowded but still enjoyable track.
Best Summer Ever (5:00): This making-of featurette uses interviews, on-set footage and clips to illustrate the camaraderie between the leads during the shoot.
Deleted Scenes (23:11): There are 12 deleted/alternate scenes here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole, and are available with optional commentary by Chbosky. They are: “Alternate Opening (Hospital),” “Susan in the Cafeteria,” “Charlie’s Best Friend Michael,” “Best Milkshake Ever,” “After Secret Santa,” “Charlie and Mom on Christmas Eve,” “Brothers (Extended Version),” “New Year’s Day,” “Brother and Sister,” “Home for Dinner,” “Charlie and Mom Leave the Hospital,” “The Poem.”
Dailies (7:04): Also available with optional commentary by Chbosky, this short collection shows rough, unpolished versions of various scenes.
Also included are a Digital Copy and UltraViolet.