12. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Stars: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Mae Whitman, Nina Dobrev, Paul Rudd, Kate Walsh, Dylan McDermott, Johnny Simmons
Release date: September 21
Who better to adapt novelist Stephen Chbosky's popular coming-of-age book The Perks of Being a Wallflower than Chbosky himself? Thirteen years after the MTV-backed book's release, the author has switched professional gears to both write and direct what, by our accounts, is the year's most pleasant surprise. At first glance, Perks gives off the impression of being just another teen comedy, albeit one with an atypically strong cast (including Harry Potter graduate Emma Watson and We Need to Talk About Kevin killer Ezra Miller), but Chbosky's film is the polar opposite.
Powered by a revelatory central performance from Logan Lerman, Perks is a wonderfully disarming and unexpectedly powerful look at a unique kind of teen angst. Lerman plays an anti-social high school student coping with the suicide of a best pal and a sudden immersion into a close-knit group of friends. With delicately fleshed-out characters, an emotionally potent disposition, and one of the best-handled on-screen teen romances in recent years (between Lerman and Watson), Chbosky's page-to-celluloid translation is a rousing triumph. One that deserves to be a mainstream smash along the lines of, yes, those crappy Twilight movies. Which, of course, it won't be. For shame.