The Perks of Being Made Into A Film . . .

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an incredible novel by Stephen Chbosky, some might go so far to say it defined a generation, and as with all novels of widespread acclaim, when the announcement was made that it was going to be a movie there were equal reactions of joy and panic. Would they ruin the quiet charm and relatability of the book? Would they cast a 29-year-old Hollywood heartthrob to pretend he was 14? How would they possibly translate the epistolary novel into a screenplay?

Well. It helps when the author of the book writes and directs the film. Stephen Chbosky was at the head of this brave undertaking and to say he succeeded is a vast understatement. The film is quirky and sweet and sweeps you up on the same ride as the book, bringing you back to the nostalgia and heartache of what it means to be young. If anything the movie is actually funnier than the book, with some well-written zingers and witty banter that make the 1990’s story feel fresh and modern.

"Perks" centers around Charlie, an introverted young freshman who is taken under the wing of two seniors who show him what life is all about. Charlie is played by a fresh-faced Logan Lerman, whose wide-eyed innocence and nervous stammer make him the perfect leading man. (Cue the awws from the audience.) Now while this might be considered a breakout role for Lerman, he’s far from the new kid on the block. Lerman has been acting since the age of four and has nabbed THREE young artist awards from his performances in 3:10 to Yuma, Hoot and the TV show Jack & Bobby. And now in addition, his incredible performance in "Perks" certainly makes him one to watch.

Sam, the quirky but troubled senior who becomes the object of Charlie’s unrequited love is played by the ever lovely Emma Watson, in her first major role since gaining international fame as Hermione in the Harry Potter series. For "Perks" Watson dons an American accent and a whole lot of sass, and those who were worried she would never step out of the Potter shadow can now bite their tongues. By 10 minutes into the film she isn’t anything but a perfectly played and effortlessly elegant Sam, and while the character itself might drift into manic pixie dream girl territory, Watson grounds her performance with a heartbreaking eagerness that makes you want to run onscreen and give her a hug.

While the entire cast of the film is one of the most stellar ensembles put together in recent years, there is definitely a scene-stealer, and that would be Ezra Miller. Already a Hollywood heavy hitter with leading roles in films like Another Happy Day and We Need to Talk About Kevin, Miller shines as the flamboyantly gay and open hearted Patrick, Sam’s step brother and the first one to notice Charlie as anything more than a wallflower. Miller, who also came out as gay during the promotion of the film, is captivating and masterful from the first frame to the last and with "Perks," clearly earns his spot as one of the greatest young actors of his generation.

Mae Whitman, who plays the Amber on the beloved NBC drama Parenthood, gives a solid supporting performance as Mary Elizabeth, Charlie’s first girlfriend, and the brief cameo by Joan Cusack is poignant but leaves us wanting more.

Overall, the Perks of Being a Wallflower is a smash success and the must see film of the fall. It is sweet and loving and heartbreakingly real and dare I say it, it might even be better than the book.

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In this brand new episode of You Should Know, Lucia explains how shopping really can improve your well being. Even if you don't buy anything, the positive effects are still there. So tell your spouse you don't necessarily have to spend money... even though it's more fun that way :)

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After 36 years in the military, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Luciano Yulfo ended his career in Afghanistan when a bomb shattered his left leg, leaving him disabled and soon to be without a leg. His 27-year-old daughter Sonia is his only caretaker, so it's really tough trying to keep their house in order. But help is on the way! Professional organizing expert, Barbara Reich and ClosetMaid are giving them each a much-needed closet makeover!

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