Stephen Chbosky's debut novel "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is one of those books that doesn't just breed fans, it inspires devotion. Since MTV published it in 1999, the young-adult novel about a misfit teenager with some dark secrets has touched a generation of readers. Comments from the reader review section on Amazon.com point to a book that "changes you," "is a great friend" and is "incredibly special."
Chbosky, who was a filmmaker before becoming a novelist, has adapted his own novel into a screenplay and directed the movie with an all-star cast led by Logan Lerman as the freshman Charlie, who must start high school after the recent suicide of his best friend. At his side are some misfit older students played by "Harry Potter's" Emma Watson and Ezra Miller ("We Need to Talk About Kevin").
The trailer highlights the relationship between the trio, a group of kids too introspective and insightful to withstand the mundanity of high school. The clip begins with Charlie confessing in voiceover that he hasn't spent a lot of time with anyone apart from his family over the summer, but he's determined to "really turn things around" at his new high school life. Things don't seem to get off to a strong start initially -- with Charlie wondering whether befriending your English teacher really counts as turning things around -- but soon he meets up with Sam (Watson) and Patrick (Miller) and his fortunes change.
The film will bow on Sept. 15 with a PG-13 rating, essential for a movie that speaks directly to teenagers on the brink of adulthood, but that rating didn't come without a fight. The Motion Picture Assn. of America originally deemed the movie R, for "teen alcohol and drug use, and some sexual references" but that was overturned after a passionate appeal from Chbosky and Eric Feig, president of production at Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.
Without having to change a frame the filmmakers were able to convince the appeals board that the more stringent rating was too severe and would turn off the audience the film was intended to reach. Soon, we will find out if those die-hard book fans will check out the film.
-- Nicole Sperling