The Perks of Being a Wallflower (film)

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower
A lime green wall with the words 'we are infinite', a boy stands beside a girl, she leans her head on the shoulder of another boy.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stephen Chbosky
Produced by Russell Smith
Lianne Halfon
John Malkovich
Screenplay by Stephen Chbosky
Based on The Perks of Being a Wallflower 
by Stephen Chbosky
Starring Logan Lerman
Emma Watson
Ezra Miller
Mae Whitman
Paul Rudd
Melanie Lynskey
Joan Cusack
Music by Michael Brook
Cinematography Andrew Dunn
Editing by Yana Gorskaya
Mary Jo Markey
Studio Mr. Mudd
Distributed by Summit Entertainment
Release date(s)
  • September 8, 2012 (2012-09-08) (TIFF)
  • September 21, 2012 (2012-09-21) (United States)
Running time 102 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $13 million[2]
Box office $33,384,127[3]

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a 2012 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film and is a film adaptation of the 1999 epistolary novel of the same name. The film stars Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller, and was directed by the novel's author, Stephen Chbosky.[4]

This is one of the three films from Halfon, Malkovich, and Smith's Mr. Mudd Productions that feature teen characters, the other two being Ghost World and Juno. Filming in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, started on May 9 and ended on June 29, 2011.[5][6] The film was released on September 21, 2012 to positive critical response and commercial success, going on to earn $33 million worldwide.[3]




Charlie (Logan Lerman) is nervous about beginning his freshman year of high school. He is shy and unable to make friends: on the first day, he connects only with his English teacher, Mr Anderson (Paul Rudd).

Charlie is befriended by two seniors, Sam (Emma Watson) and her stepbrother Patrick (Ezra Miller). After a football game they take him to a high school dance and then a house party. Charlie unwittingly eats a cannabis brownie and becomes high. He admits to Sam that his best friend committed suicide the year before. He also discovers Patrick and Brad (Johnny Simmons), a popular athlete, kissing in a room. Sam realizes that Charlie has no other friends, and makes Charlie part of their group. Charlie agrees to help Sam prepare for her SAT exams so she may enter Pennsylvania State University. On the way home from the party, the three drive through a tunnel and Sam stands up in the back of the pickup truck while listening to a song they call "The Tunnel Song".

During Christmas, the group organizes a Secret Santa. Though Sam was not Charlie's Santa, she gives him a vintage typewriter. While discussing relationships, Charlie reveals he has never been kissed. Sam reveals that her first kiss was from her father's boss when she was 11 years old. Sam adds that she wants Charlie's first kiss to be from someone who loves him before kissing him.

Sam, Patrick and their friends regularly take part in acting out The Rocky Horror Show. Charlie is asked to take part in the show when Sam's college boyfriend, Craig, is unavailable. An impressed Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman), one of their friends, asks Charlie to the Sadie Hawkins dance. After the dance, Mary Elizabeth takes Charlie to her house and they kiss. She declares how glad she is to have him as her boyfriend.

Mary Elizabeth dominates the relationship, and Charlie grows irritated by her. At a party, they break up during a game of Truth or Dare when Charlie, without thinking, kisses Sam after being dared to kiss the most beautiful girl in the room. Sam is furious at Charlie. Charlie returns to isolation after Patrick tells him to stay away while things cool down. Charlie has flashbacks of the death of his Aunt Helen (Melanie Lynskey) who died in a car accident when he was seven years old.

Patrick breaks up with Brad after Brad's father catches them having sex and beats Brad in front of Patrick. In the school cafeteria, Brad calls Patrick a "faggot" because Brad does not want his friends believing they are friends. Patrick attacks Brad, but Brad's friends beat him up. Charlie intervenes, lunging at Brad's friends, but blacks out. When he comes to, he finds he has bruised knuckles and the boys are on the floor in pain. Charlie helps Patrick to his feet and coldly warns Brad, "Touch my friends again, and I'll blind you". Patrick, Sam and Charlie reconcile. Patrick takes Charlie to a park and discusses how he witnessed Brad's father beat him when he found Brad with Patrick. Patrick then states his wish that he could meet a nice guy, and kisses Charlie, but immediately apologizes. He hugs Charlie and Charlie hugs him back.

Sam receives her college acceptance letter from Pennsylvania State University, which states that she must leave immediately for a summer introductory program. Sam breaks up with Craig after learning he has been cheating on her. The night before she departs, Sam brings Charlie to her room, she asks him "Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we're nothing?" to which he replies "We accept the love we think we deserve". After several confessions to each other, they kiss. When she starts touching Charlie on his thigh, he pulls away. The next morning, Charlie says goodbye to Sam and Patrick. Charlie is left emotionally shaken as this incident triggers his childhood memories.

Charlie goes to his empty home, having severe flashbacks of his Aunt Helen and her death. Charlie calls his sister and blames himself for Helen's death. His sister believes Charlie is suicidal and calls the police. Charlie passes out as they burst through the door, waking up in a hospital. Dr Burton (Joan Cusack), the hospital psychiatrist, tells Charlie's parents that he was sexually abused by his aunt. Charlie repressed the memories because he loved her.

Charlie undergoes therapy with Dr Burton, recovers and returns home where he is visited by Sam and Patrick. Sam explains what college life is like, and how she has found "The Tunnel Song" — "Heroes" by David Bowie. The three revisit the tunnel, where Charlie kisses Sam again and stands up in the back of the truck. Charlie acknowledges that he feels alive and in that moment: "We are infinite".




John Hughes wanted to write a screenplay to the book after reading the novel, he did get the rights from Chbosky but never finished the screenplay. Perks was original going to be more of a Dark Comedy with dramatic elements and Hughes directorial comeback. While writing the screenplay, John thought of Shia LaBeouf to play the lead role as Charile. He also thought of The Virgin Suicides star Kirsten Dunst to play as Sam and Almost Famous star Patrick Fugit to play as Patrick.

Mr. Mudd Productions (producers of Juno) sought to hire Stephen Chbosky – author of the novel – to adapt the film. The producers – John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon, and Russell Smith – then hired Chbosky to write an adapted screenplay and to direct the film. Chbosky used half of Hughes screenplay (which he got the rights with Hughes family) mixed with Chbosky's. In May 2010, actors Logan Lerman and Emma Watson were reported to be in talks for the film.[7]

In January 2011, Summit acquired distribution rights.[8] In the following February, Lerman and Watson were confirmed as Charlie and Sam.[9] In the same month, Summit sought a buyer for the project at the European Film Market held simultaneously with the Berlin International Film Festival.[10] In April 2011, Mae Whitman signed on as Mary Elizabeth and Nina Dobrev was cast as Candace. Paul Rudd was cast as Bill later that month.[11] On May 9, 2011, Kate Walsh announced that she was cast in the film as Charlie's mother and had begun filming.[12]


The film was shot in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area from May 9 to June 29, 2011.[13] Initial filming began in Pittsburgh's South Hills, including Bethel Park, Upper St. Clair, and Peters Township High School.[14][15]

Scenes of the film's characters in costume at The Rocky Horror Picture Show were filmed at The Hollywood Theater in Dormont.[16] Chbosky had seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show there when he was younger, and requested to rent the theater as a location when he found out it was re-opening.[17]

The film also has scenes within Pittsburgh city limits inside the Fort Pitt Tunnel and Fort Pitt Bridge on Interstate 376, as well as on Mount Washington.[18]


The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released August 1, 2012
Genre Rock, Pop-rock, Soft Rock, Pop, New wave
Length 51:58
Label Atlantic Records
No. Title Music Length
1. "Could It Be Another Change?"   The Samples 3:27
2. "Come On Eileen"   Dexys Midnight Runners 4:12
3. "Tugboat"   Galaxie 500 3:54
4. "Temptation"   New Order 5:22
5. "Evensong"   The Innocence Mission 3:40
6. "Asleep"   The Smiths 4:10
7. "Low"   Cracker 4:34
8. "Teen Age Riot"   Sonic Youth 6:57
9. "Dear God"   XTC 3:36
10. "Pearly-Dewdrops' Drops"   Cocteau Twins 4:10
11. "Charlie's Last Letter"   Michael Brook 1:48
12. ""Heroes""   David Bowie 6:08
Chart (2012/2013) Peak
US Billboard Top Soundtracks[19] 7


The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Original Motion Picture Score)
Soundtrack album by Michael Brook
Released September 25, 2012
Genre Score
Length 23:41
Label Lionsgate Records
No. Title Music Length
1. "First Day"   Michael Brook 2:32
2. "Home Again"   Michael Brook 1:40
3. "Charlie Speaks"   Michael Brook 2:03
4. "Candace"   Michael Brook 1:46
5. "Charlie's Gifts"   Michael Brook 0:55
6. "Kiss Breakdown"   Michael Brook 5:12
7. "Acid"   Michael Brook 3:12
8. "Charlie's First Kiss"   Michael Brook 3:34
9. "Shard"   Michael Brook 2:47


The film was scheduled to be released on September 14, 2012, but it was announced in August 2012 that it would be released a week later, on September 21, 2012, in selected cities.[20] The film continued to expand on September 28, 2012, with a nationwide release on October 12, 2012. The UK premiere was on September 23[21] at the Cambridge Film Festival.


The film went under appeal for a PG-13 rating upon its originally given R rating for "teen drug and alcohol use, and some sexual references"; the appeals board changed it to a PG-13 for "mature thematic material, drug and alcohol use, sexual content including references, and a fight – all involving teens".[22]


Critical response[edit]

The film received mainly positive reviews. It holds a certified "fresh" rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on reviews from 148 critics.[23] Metacritic gives the film 67% based on reviews from 36 critics, indicating generally favorable reviews.[24]

The lead cast also received positive notices. Ian Buckwalter of The Atlantic said "The primary trio of actors delivers outstanding performances, starting with Watson, who sheds the memory of a decade playing Hermione in the Harry Potter series with an about-face as a flirtatious but insecure free spirit. Miller also plays against his most recent performance, which was as the tightly wound eponymous teenage psychopath in We Need to Talk About Kevin, to deliver a giddy, scene-stealing turn as Patrick. Lerman, best known from the Percy Jackson series, shines as Charlie, a role that demands he be immediately likeable while still holding onto some deep darkness that can't be fully revealed until the end."[25]

John Anderson of Newsday also praised the cast saying "As Sam, the quasi-bad girl trying to reinvent herself before college, she (Emma Watson) brings honesty and a lack of cliche to a character who might have been a standard-issue student. But equally fine are her co-stars: Ezra Miller, who plays the gay character Patrick as something messy and unusual; Paul Rudd, as their English teacher, is refreshingly thoughtful. And Charlie is portrayed by Lerman as quietly observant, yearning and delicate in a way that will click with audiences regardless of age".[26]

Some critics had a less positive response to the film, with the main criticism being that the portrayal of teenage issues is idealized and the casting uninspired. The Miami Herald critic Connie Ogle notes that "the suicide of Charlie’s best friend, which takes place before the film opens, seems glossed over too quickly" despite the event being Charlie's main character motivation in the film.[27] Jack Wilson of Australia's The Age writes, "the script is transparently fake at almost every moment, congratulating the gang on their non-conformity while soft-pedalling any aspect of adolescent behaviour - drug use, sex, profanity - that might upset the American mainstream."[28] Richard Corliss of Time criticizes the casting of actors in their twenties to play teenagers, unlike the film Heathers where the cast were actually teenagers.[29]

Box office[edit]

The Perks of Being a Wallflower received a limited release of four theaters in the United States on September 21, 2012, and grossed $228,359 on its limited opening weekend, averaging $57,089 per theater. The film earned $17,742,948 in North America and $15,641,179 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $33,384,127.[3][30][31]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2012 Boston Society of Film Critics Award Best Supporting Actor Ezra Miller Won
Best Supporting Actress Emma Watson Nominated
2012 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Nominated
Most Promising Filmmaker Stephen Chbosky Nominated
2012 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards Breakthrough Performance Stephen Chbosky Nominated
Best Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Ezra Miller Nominated
2012 Hollywood Film Festival Spotlight Award Ezra Miller Won
2012 Indiana Film Critics Association Award Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Won
2012 National Board of Review Awards Top Films The Perks of Being a Wallflower Won
2012 Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Actor in a Supporting Role Ezra Miller Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Emma Watson Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Nominated
Most Overlooked Film The Perks of Being a Wallflower Nominated
Best Breakthrough Performance Behind the Camera Stephen Chbosky Nominated
2012 San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Emma Watson Won
Best Ensemble Performance The Cast Won
2012 St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award Best Supporting Actress Emma Watson Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Nominated
2012 Utah Film Critics Association Award Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Won
2012 Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Nominated
Best Youth Performance Logan Lerman Nominated
2013 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Young Actor/Actress Logan Lerman Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Nominated
2013 Chlotrudis Award Best Movie Won
Best Supporting Actor Ezra Miller Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Won
Best Ensemble Cast Nominated
2013 GLAAD Media Award[32] Outstanding Film - Wide Release The Perks of Being a Wallflower Won
2013 Independent Spirit Award[33] Best First Feature Stephen Chbosky Won
2013 MTV Movie Awards[34] Best Female Performance Emma Watson Nominated
Best Kiss Emma Watson and Logan Lerman Nominated
Best Breakthrough Performance Ezra Miller Nominated
Best Musical Moment Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller Nominated
2013 People's Choice Awards Favorite Drama Movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower Won
Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress Emma Watson Won
2013 Writers Guild Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Nominated
2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower Pending
Choice Movie Actor: Drama Logan Lerman Pending
Choice Movie Actress: Drama Emma Watson Pending

Top lists[edit]

The film was included in the following lists for the best films of 2012:

Publication Rank Source
Chad Michael Van Alstin, of Blogcritics 1 [35]
MTV 2 [36]
Us Weekly 6 [37]
Rope of Silicon 8 [38]
Complex 12 [39]


  1. ^ "THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 
  2. ^ Mark Olsen (November 1, 2012). "'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' steadily blossoms". Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Perks of Being a Wallflower (film)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved April 14, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Catching Up With The Perks of Being A Wallflower". Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  5. ^ "'Perks Of Being A Wallflower' updates plus filming locations in Pittsburgh May 9–13". Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  6. ^ "A message from Emma". Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  7. ^ McNary, Dave (May 19, 2010). "Watson, Lerman in talks for 'Perks'". Variety. 
  8. ^ McNary, Dave (January 25, 2011). "Summit circles 'Wallflower'". Variety. 
  9. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (February 9, 2011). "Emma Watson to star in 'Wallflower'". Variety. 
  10. ^ Kay, Jeremy (February 17, 2011). "Buyers leave EFM with deals despite slow festival". Screen Daily. 
  11. ^ Finke, Nikki (April 15, 2011). "Nina Dobrev Goes From 'Vampire Diaries' To 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower'". Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  12. ^ Wilkinson, Amy (May 10, 2011). "Kate Walsh Signs On For 'Perks Of Being A Wallflower'". MTV. Retrieved May 19, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Movie Filming In Pittsburgh Wants To Make Your Car A Star". WPXI. April 27, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Movie Begins Filming in Upper St. Clair". Upper St. Clair Patch. Retrieved May 19, 2011. 
  15. ^ Emmers, Becky (May 19, 2011). "Kings Restaurant Closing for 'Perks' Movie Shoot". Peters Patch. Retrieved May 19, 2011. 
  16. ^ Vancheri, Barbara (April 21, 2011). "Film Notes: Newly resurrected Hollywood Theater to appear in film". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  17. ^ "USC Native to Film Scenes for Movie at Dormont's Hollywood Theater". Dormont-Brookline Patch. April 25, 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  18. ^ Anya Sostek (September 28). "The 'Perks' Fort Pitt Tunnel stunt: Don't try it". 
  19. ^ "Soundtracks : 1 – 10". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  20. ^ "Release Date Round-Up: ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Perks’ Get Pushed, ‘Rush’ and ‘Mama’ Get Dated". FilmSchoolRejects. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  21. ^ "'Cambridge Film Festival – Programme for Sunday 23rd of September'". 
  22. ^ "MPAA Grants 'Perks of Being a Wallflower' PG-13 Rating". The Wrap. Sharon Waxman. 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2012-04-07. 
  23. ^ "The Perks of Being a Wallflower". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  24. ^ "The Perks of Being a Wallflower Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  25. ^ Buckwalter, Ian. "How 'Perks of Being a Wallflower' Breaks an Old Filmmaking Curse". The Atlantic. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  26. ^ Anderson, John. "'Perks of Being a Wallflower' review: Life in high school". Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  27. ^ Ogle, Connie. "'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' (PG-13". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 9/27/2012. 
  28. ^ Wilson, Jack. "Bohemian fantasy shies away from adolescent truths". Retrieved November 29, 2012. 
  29. ^ Corliss, Richard. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower: A Teen Angel’s Dreamy Angst". Time Entertainment. 
  30. ^ Deadline, The. "Indie Box Office - Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Diana Vreeland, The Master". Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  31. ^ "Box Office: Jake Gyllenhaal Tops Jennifer Lawrence; Dredd 3D Bombs | E! Online". Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  32. ^ Megan Townsend (April 20, 2013). "The New Normal, The Perks of Being a Wallflower among GLAAD Media Award Recipients in Los Angeles". 
  33. ^ "Independent Spirit Awards 2013: Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. 23 February 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  34. ^ "2013 MTV Movie Awards Winners". April 14, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Top Ten Movies of 2012". Blog Critics. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Best Movies Of 2012". MTV. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  37. ^ "Top Ten Movies of 2012". US Weekly. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Top Ten Movies of 2012". Rope of Silicon. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  39. ^ "The 25 Best Movies of 2012". Complex. Retrieved February 16, 2013. 

External links[edit]