Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on November 2013

©2013 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We all went to high school. Some us were in with the “cool” kids, but most of you perhaps not. Kidding. Anyway, we’ve all seen way too many too-sappy coming-of-age movies about fitting in, being yourself and following your dream, ad nauseam. But somehow this one, scripted and directed by Stephen Chbosky from his own popular YA novel, manages to (see title) take a fresh look at some of the positive aspects of being on the outside looking in. The time is the early ’90s. The central character is Charlie (a career-making turn for Logan Lerman, making up for all that Percy Jackson drivel), a troubled, alienated freshman who is befriended by senior-class stepsiblings and perfectly happy outcasts Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and Emma Watson (effectively erasing Hermione). Their older and artsier crowd kind of adopts Charlie and helps him face down some dark, guilt-driven demons. This nuanced, unsentimental ode to the power of supportive friends is warm and wise, sad and amusing, sincere and insightful, and not at all unhip. Japanese title: Wallflower. (102 min)