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 byStephen Chbosky
Produced by
Screenplay byStephen Chbosky
Based onThe Perks of Being a Wallflower 
by Stephen Chbosky
Music byMichael Brook
CinematographyAndrew Dunn
Edited byMary Jo Markey
Distributed bySummit Entertainment
Release dates
  • September 8, 2012 (2012-09-08) (TIFF)
  • September 21, 2012 (2012-09-21) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$13 million[2]
Box office$33.4 million[3]
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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 byStephen Chbosky
Produced by
Screenplay byStephen Chbosky
Based onThe Perks of Being a Wallflower 
by Stephen Chbosky
Music byMichael Brook
CinematographyAndrew Dunn
Edited byMary Jo Markey
Distributed bySummit Entertainment
Release dates
  • September 8, 2012 (2012-09-08) (TIFF)
  • September 21, 2012 (2012-09-21) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$13 million[2]
Box office$33.4 million[3]

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a 2012 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film, and an adaptation of the 1999 epistolary novel of the same name; it was directed by the novel's author, Stephen Chbosky. Filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the film was released on September 21, 2012, to positive critical response and commercial success, earning $33 million worldwide. The film stars Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller. This is one of the three films from John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith's Mr. Mudd Productions that feature struggling teenagers; the other two are Ghost World and Juno.[3][4][5][6]


Charlie (Logan Lerman) is uneasy about beginning his freshman year of high school; he is shy and finds difficulty in making friends, but he connects with his English teacher, Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd).

Charlie sits with two seniors, Sam (Emma Watson) and her stepbrother Patrick (Ezra Miller), at a football game, and they invite him to tag along to several social activities with them. At a party Charlie unwittingly eats a cannabis brownie, gets high and discloses to Sam that the year before his best friend committed suicide. He also walks in on Patrick and Brad (Johnny Simmons), a popular athlete, kissing. Sam realizes that Charlie has no other friends so she and Patrick make a special effort to bring Charlie into their group of friends. Sam needs to improve her SAT scores to be accepted to Pennsylvania State University, so Charlie offers to tutor her. On the way home from the party, the three hear a song they are unfamiliar with ("Heroes" by David Bowie), and Sam instructs Patrick to drive through a tunnel so she can stand up in the back of the pickup while the music blasts.

For Christmas, Sam gives Charlie a vintage typewriter to help his aspirations of being a writer. The two discuss relationships, and Charlie reveals he has never been kissed. Sam, though already involved with someone else, tells Charlie she wants his first kiss to be from someone who loves him, and kisses him. Charlie, in love with Sam, begins to try to find ways to show her how he feels.

At a regular Rocky Horror Picture Show performance, Charlie is asked to fill in for Sam's boyfriend Craig, who is unavailable. Their friend Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman) is impressed and asks Charlie to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Charlie goes along with the resulting relationship to avoid hurting Mary Elizabeth's feelings, but grows more and more irritated by the situation. Finally, at a party, when Charlie is dared to kiss the most beautiful girl in the room, he chooses Sam, upsetting both her and Mary Elizabeth. Patrick recommends Charlie stay away from the group for a while, and the isolation causes him to sink back into depression. He experiences flashbacks of his favorite Aunt Helen (Melanie Lynskey), who died in a car accident when he was seven years old.

Brad shows up to school with a black eye after being caught by his father having sex with Patrick, but he lies that he was jumped and beaten up. Brad distances himself from Patrick, calling him with a "faggot", leading Patrick to out him. Brad's friends begin beating Patrick when Charlie forcefully intervenes, but then blacks out. He recovers to find he has bruised knuckles and Brad's friends are on the floor, incapacitated. Charlie threatens, "Touch my friends again, and I'll blind you," then leaves. Charlie reconciles with Sam and Patrick.

Sam is accepted into PSU, and breaks up with Craig on prom night after learning he has been cheating on her. The night before she departs, she brings Charlie to her room and asks him "Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we're nothing?" to which he repeats advice he received from Mr. Anderson, "We accept the love we think we deserve". They confide in each other and kiss, but when Sam touches Charlie's thigh, he experiences a momentary flashback of his Aunt Helen, which he passes off as nothing, and they continue to kiss. After she leaves for college, though, his emotional state deteriorates and his flashbacks worsen; when he calls his sister blaming himself for Helen's death, and admitting he may have wished it upon her, his sister realizes he is in trouble and calls the police. Charlie passes out as they burst through the door and wakes up in a hospital, where psychiatrist Dr. Burton (Joan Cusack) manages to bring out Charlie's repressed memories of his aunt sexually abusing him.

Through therapy, Charlie recovers and returns home where he is visited by Sam and Patrick. Sam explains what college life is like, and reveals she has identified the song from the tunnel. The three drive through the tunnel again, with Charlie in the back of the pickup this time. He kisses Sam, and acknowledges that he feels alive in that moment and declares "We are infinite."


Project development[edit]

John Hughes read the novel and attempted to write a screenplay after he got the rights from Chbosky; he never finished the screenplay. Hughes was going to use the project as a directorial comeback with a more dark comedy style with dramatic elements. He had in mind while writing the screenplay particular actors: Shia LaBeouf as Charlie; Kirsten Dunst (The Virgin Suicides) as Sam; and Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous) as Patrick.

Mr. Mudd Productions (producers of Juno) became interested in the project and sought out Stephen Chbosky to adapt the film. The producers—John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon, and Russell Smith—hired Chbosky to write a screenplay adaptation and to direct the film. Chbosky found value in half of Hughes screenplay so he negotiated for the rights from Hughes' family and added his own touches. In January 2011, Summit acquired distribution rights.[7] The following month, Summit sought a buyer for the project at the European Film Market held simultaneously with the Berlin International Film Festival.[8]

In May 2010, actors Logan Lerman and Emma Watson were reported as in talks for the project[9] and confirmed the following year.[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 South Park, Upper St. Clair, and Peters Township High School.[14][15]

The Rocky Horror Picture Show scenes were filmed at The Hollywood Theater in Dormont[16] after Chbosky learned that the theater was re-opening; he had seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show there when younger.[17]

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



The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
ReleasedAugust 1, 2012
GenreAlternative rock, dream pop, new wave, jangle pop, pop rock, folk rock
LabelAtlantic Records
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
1."Could It Be Another Change?"  The Samples3:27
2."Come On Eileen"  Dexys Midnight Runners4:12
3."Tugboat"  Galaxie 5003:54
4."Temptation"  New Order5:22
5."Evensong"  The Innocence Mission3:40
6."Asleep"  The Smiths4:10
7."Low"  Cracker4:34
8."Teen Age Riot"  Sonic Youth6:57
9."Dear God"  XTC3:36
10."Pearly Dew Drops Drop"  Cocteau Twins4:10
11."Charlie's Last Letter"  Michael Brook1:48
12."'Heroes'"  David Bowie6:08
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
ReleasedSeptember 25, 2012
LabelLionsgate Records
Original Motion Picture Score
1."First Day"  Michael Brook2:32
2."Home Again"  Michael Brook1:40
3."Charlie Speaks"  Michael Brook2:03
4."Candace"  Michael Brook1:46
5."Charlie's Gifts"  Michael Brook0:55
6."Kiss Breakdown"  Michael Brook5:12
7."Acid"  Michael Brook3:12
8."Charlie's First Kiss"  Michael Brook3:34
9."Shard"  Michael Brook2:47


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 originally received an R rating for "teen drug and alcohol use, and some sexual references". The filmmakers appealed and the MPAA changed it to PG-13 for "mature thematic material, drug and alcohol use, sexual content including references, and a fight—all involving teens".[22]

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][23][24]


Critical response[edit]

The film received mainly positive reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a "Certified Fresh" score of 85%, based on reviews from 151 critics, with an average score of 7.4/10. The site's consensus states: "The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a heartfelt and sincere adaptation that's bolstered by strong lead performances."[25] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the film has a score of 67 based on 36 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[26]

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."[27]

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".[28]

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.[29] Jack Wilson of 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."[30] 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.[31]

MTV, Us Weekly and Complex named The Perks of Being a Wallflower one of the best films of the year.[32][33][34]


2012Boston Society of Film Critics AwardsBest Supporting ActorEzra MillerWon
Best Supporting ActressEmma WatsonNominated
Chicago Film Critics Association AwardsBest Adapted ScreenplayStephen ChboskyNominated
Most Promising FilmmakerNominated
Detroit Film Critics Society AwardsBreakthrough PerformanceNominated
Best ScreenplayNominated
Best Supporting ActorEzra MillerNominated
Hollywood Film FestivalSpotlight AwardWon
Indiana Film Critics Association AwardsBest Adapted ScreenplayStephen ChboskyWon
National Board of Review AwardsTop FilmsThe Perks of Being a WallflowerWon
Phoenix Film Critics Society AwardsBest Supporting ActorEzra MillerNominated
Best Supporting ActressEmma WatsonNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayStephen ChboskyNominated
Most Overlooked FilmThe Perks of Being a WallflowerNominated
Best Breakthrough Performance Behind the CameraStephen ChboskyNominated
San Diego Film Critics Society AwardsBest Adapted ScreenplayNominated
Best Supporting ActressEmma WatsonWon
Best Ensemble PerformanceCastWon
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association AwardsBest Supporting ActressEmma WatsonNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayStephen ChboskyNominated
Utah Film Critics Association AwardsBest Adapted ScreenplayWon
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association AwardsBest Adapted ScreenplayNominated
Best Youth PerformanceLogan LermanNominated
2013Broadcast Film Critics Association AwardsBest Young PerformerNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayStephen ChboskyNominated
GLAAD Media Awards[35]Outstanding Film - Wide ReleaseThe Perks of Being a WallflowerWon
Independent Spirit Awards[36]Best First FeatureStephen ChboskyWon
MTV Movie Awards[37]Best Female PerformanceEmma WatsonNominated
Best KissEmma Watson and Logan LermanNominated
Best Breakthrough PerformanceEzra MillerNominated
Best Musical MomentEmma Watson, Logan Lerman and Ezra MillerNominated
People's Choice AwardsFavorite Drama MovieThe Perks of Being a WallflowerWon
Favorite Dramatic Movie ActressEmma WatsonWon
Writers Guild of America AwardsBest Adapted ScreenplayStephen ChboskyNominated
Teen Choice AwardsChoice Movie: DramaThe Perks of Being a WallflowerWon
Choice Movie Actor: DramaLogan LermanWon
Choice Movie Actress: DramaEmma WatsonWon
Choice Movie Breakout: ActorEzra MillerNominated
Choice Movie LiplockLogan Lerman and Emma WatsonNominated


  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 (January 25, 2011). "Summit circles 'Wallflower'". Variety. 
  8. ^ Kay, Jeremy (February 17, 2011). "Buyers leave EFM with deals despite slow festival". Screen Daily. 
  9. ^ McNary, Dave (May 19, 2010). "Watson, Lerman in talks for 'Perks'". Variety. 
  10. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (February 9, 2011). "Emma Watson to star in 'Wallflower'". Variety. 
  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, 2012). "The 'Perks' Fort Pitt Tunnel stunt: Don't try it". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  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. ^ Deadline, The (September 23, 2012). "Indie Box Office - Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Diana Vreeland, The Master". Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  24. ^ "Box Office: Jake Gyllenhaal Tops Jennifer Lawrence; Dredd 3D Bombs | E! Online". Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  25. ^ "The Perks of Being a Wallflower". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  26. ^ "The Perks of Being a Wallflower Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  27. ^ Buckwalter, Ian. "How 'Perks of Being a Wallflower' Breaks an Old Filmmaking Curse". The Atlantic. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  28. ^ Anderson, John. "'Perks of Being a Wallflower' review: Life in high school". Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  29. ^ Ogle, Connie. "'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' (PG-13". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2012-09-27. 
  30. ^ Wilson, Jack. "Bohemian fantasy shies away from adolescent truths". Melbourne: Retrieved November 29, 2012. 
  31. ^ Corliss, Richard (September 13, 2012). "The Perks of Being a Wallflower: A Teen Angel’s Dreamy Angst". Time Entertainment. 
  32. ^ "Best Movies Of 2012". MTV. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Top Ten Movies of 2012". US Weekly. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  34. ^ "The 25 Best Movies of 2012". Complex. Retrieved February 16, 2013. 
  35. ^ Megan Townsend (April 20, 2013). "The New Normal, The Perks of Being a Wallflower among GLAAD Media Award Recipients in Los Angeles". 
  36. ^ "Independent Spirit Awards 2013: Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. 23 February 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  37. ^ "2013 MTV Movie Awards Winners". April 14, 2013. 

External links[edit]