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
Screenplay by Stephen Chbosky
Based on The Perks of Being a Wallflower 
by Stephen Chbosky
Music by Michael Brook
Cinematography Andrew Dunn
Edited by Mary Jo Markey
Distributed by Summit Entertainment
Release dates
  • September 8, 2012 (2012-09-08) (TIFF)
  • September 21, 2012 (2012-09-21) (United States)
Running time 103 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $13 million[2]
Box office $33.4 million[3]

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) is an American coming-of-age comedy-drama film 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 although his sister attends the same school; he connects with his English teacher, Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd).

Charlie is befriended by two seniors, Sam (Emma Watson) and her stepbrother Patrick (Ezra Miller) and he begins to share social activities with them. At a house party Charlie unwittingly eats a cannabis brownie, gets high and discloses to Sam that the year before his best friend committed suicide. There, he finds Patrick and Brad (Johnny Simmons), a popular athlete, kissing. Sam realizes that Charlie has no other friends so she makes special effort to bring Charlie into her group of friends. Sam needs help if she is to succeed in attending her choice of college (Pennsylvania State University) so he helps her prepare for the SAT exams. 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. She adds that, even though there is a boy she likes, she wants Charlie's first kiss to be from someone who loves him. Then she kisses him and says that she loves him. Sam has a boyfriend but Charlie still prepares to ask Sam out on New Year's Eve.

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.

Charlie grows irritated by Mary Elizabeth's domination of the relationship and 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 isolates himself from the group when 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.

Brad gets a black eye from his father's beating when he is found with Patrick having sex; the injury to others is explained as he being jumped. They are no longer friends and Brad with his friends around attempts to distance himself from Patrick by calling him with a "faggot". Patrick outs Brad, they fight and Brad's friends get involved. Charlie with gusto intervenes but then blacks out. He recovers to find he has bruised knuckles and the boys are on the floor in pain. Charlie vows to Brad, "Touch my friends again, and I'll blind you". Patrick confides in Charlie his wish that he could meet a nice guy, kisses Charlie, but immediately apologizes. He hugs Charlie and Charlie hugs him back.

Sam is accepted into her college of choice if she attends a summer introductory program. Sam breaks up with Craig on prom night 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". They confide in each other and kiss but when she touches Charlie's thigh, he pulls away and the next day starts to have flashbacks about his childhood experience with his aunt just before her death. It does not help his emotional instability when Sam and Patrick leave for college.

Charlie calls his sister and blames himself for Helen's death; she realises that Charlie is in trouble and calls the police. Charlie passes out as they burst through the door and wakes up in a hospital where he has therapy with Dr. Burton (Joan Cusack), the hospital psychiatrist. Charlie's childhood repressed sexual abuse with his aunt becomes known to his parents since he never said anything to them as 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 sits in the back of the truck. Charlie acknowledges that he feels alive and in that moment: "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 there when younger The Rocky Horror Picture Show.[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
Released August 1, 2012
Genre Alternative rock, dream pop, new wave, jangle pop, pop rock, folk rock
Length 51:58
Label Atlantic Records
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
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 Dew Drops Drop"   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
Original Motion Picture Score
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 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]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2012 Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Supporting Actor Ezra Miller Won
Best Supporting Actress Emma Watson Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Nominated
Most Promising Filmmaker Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society Awards Breakthrough Performance Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Ezra Miller Nominated
Hollywood Film Festival Spotlight Award Won
Indiana Film Critics Association Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Won
National Board of Review Awards Top Films The Perks of Being a Wallflower Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards Best Supporting Actor Ezra Miller Nominated
Best Supporting Actress 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
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Emma Watson Won
Best Ensemble Performance Cast Won
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Emma Watson Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Nominated
Utah Film Critics Association Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Won
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Best Youth Performance Logan Lerman Nominated
2013 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Young Performer Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Nominated
GLAAD Media Awards[35] Outstanding Film - Wide Release The Perks of Being a Wallflower Won
Independent Spirit Awards[36] Best First Feature Stephen Chbosky Won
MTV Movie Awards[37] 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
People's Choice Awards Favorite Drama Movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower Won
Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress Emma Watson Won
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower Won
Choice Movie Actor: Drama Logan Lerman Won
Choice Movie Actress: Drama Emma Watson Won
Choice Movie Breakout: Actor Ezra Miller Nominated
Choice Movie Liplock Logan Lerman and Emma Watson Nominated


  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). "The 'Perks' Fort Pitt Tunnel stunt: Don't try it". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  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]