The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
High school films devoid of archetypes are few and far between, and the same goes for high school films that don't adopt a goofy approach. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the exception in both categories, and still it is every bit as enjoyable as the most audience-friendly films in this subgenre. They key, I suspect, is that the director is also the screenwriter and the novelist behind the book upon which the film is based. His name is Stephen Chbosky, and he takes the problems of youth every bit as seriously as John Hughes did in The Breakfast Club in the 1980s. Based on his 1999 novel of the same name, his script is full of care for and understanding of these kids, and he's able to transfer the literary quality to the screen without making it feel contrived. He also seems to be a real actors' director, giving his wonderful cast time to blossom and develop together. There's an undeniable bond and unity between particularly the trio Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, and rarely have teenagers come across as more human and real than they do here. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a homage to youth, and a really enjoyable one at that.