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I’ll admit it, I have a weakness for high school coming-of-age movies.

Why? I can’t put my finger on it exactly. I think I had a pretty typical high school experience. I wasn’t popular, but I was liked well enough by most of my classmates. I was bullied a bit, and picked on some, but that was more in middle school than high school, and I can’t say it’s more than any typical kid gets – certainly not enough to dwell on all these years later. But high school represents a crossroads for everyone. There are more opportunities to make older (and then younger) friends than you’ve had before. There are new freedoms and experiences commingling with being nearly an adult.  And at the end – no matter what path you choose, there is an ending.

In Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie (Logan Lerman) is just entering high school after a rough time in middle school.  His psyche, though, has more significant damage than the typical Freshman.  I won’t detail what to avoid spoilers.  There’s discussion throughout, though a key point of it isn’t revealed until the end of the movie.  He falls into a friendship with a group of Seniors, and it’s his relationships with them that really drive the movie.  Most everyone in the movie is messed up in one way or another, but it isn’t over-emphasised.  It just serves to make them seem human.

In the end, Charlie is able to face his demons.  And although his new-found friends are all leaving for college, things will be all right.

The cast does a superb job, making you forget that they are anyone other than their characters – not an easy task for a movie starring Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), Percy Jackson (Lerman), and Tinkerbell – voice (Mae Whitman).  Watson debuts her American accent with ease (though if you listen closely there are just a couple of places where her normal British enunciation tries to sneak out).

I’d certainly recommend this for anyone who, like myself, has a soft spot in their heart for high school movies, and I’ll definitely be looking for the book.

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