Director: Stephen Chbosky
Stars: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Nina Dobrev, Mae Whitman, Paul Rudd, Kate Walsh, Dylan McDermott, Melanie Lynskey, Johnny Simmons

The Perks of Being a Wallflower remains the year's most pleasant surprise, more than six months after we first saw it. With its young cast and high school angst vibes (seen via the early batches of promotional stills and trailers), writer-director Stephen Chbosky's adaptation of his own popular young-adult novel gave us the impression that, at best, it'd be a somewhat more thoughtful version of American Pie. Boy, were we dead wrong.

The emotional wallops stored inside the vastly underrated The Perks of Being a Wallflower are some of the most poignant felt in all of 2012. Hats off to young stars Logan Lerman (as an insecure kid looking for friendship while battling depression and other personal demons), Ezra Miller (as the perky yet susceptible-to-pain gay teen who befriends Lerman's character), and Emma Watson (Lerman's bubbly, heart-melting, seemingly unattainable love interest), each of whom give honest, raw performances that go well beyond the usual high school cinema levels.