Thomas Kail on Stephen Chbosky’s ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’

Eye on the Oscars: The Director Preview

High School is tricky to navigate. Perhaps even more difficult is making an honest film set in the world of high school. It can be done, and we have writer-director Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” to offer as proof. He elegantly adapts his novel of the same name in this quietly potent film. Chbosky focuses on a teenage group grappling with that remarkable period when life is crowded with so many firsts. He has assembled a uniformly top-drawer cast. Each performance is imbued with full dimension and a deep understanding of this combustible time, all delivered without a trace of irony or comment. His remarkable lead, Logan Lerman, navigates us through this maze with complete dexterity. Chbosky confronts his characters with moments that catapult them out of childhood — and they are assuredly handled with truth and compassion. I did not think I would be so glad to feel all of that beautiful mess again. Thank you, Mr. Chbosky.

Thomas Kail helmed “In the Heights,” for which he received a Tony nomination.

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