I said a lot of mean shit about A Wrinkle in Time (2018) and I meant every word. Especially the part about adapting a book to movie, tempering readers, studios, and viewers expectations. I still mean that with this book, but more with a shrug and an "attah movie, you tried hard." Perks of Being a Wallflower, adapted by the author, struggles to live up to the prose by giving it a voice it didn't need.
Charlie has a lot of issues that we'll learn about, but right now he has to start school. Along the way he meets some new friends on accident, crushes on one of them, dates another one, drinks, drugs, and otherwise has a full high school experience. He also learns about love and romance and the pain of hidden desire and how the Rocky Horror Picture Show can save lives. Then those issues come out near the end, teaching us all that true growing up happens through trauma, not despite of it. Or some shit.
The acting is solid with big points to Ezra Miller, the only stand out. Our main character Charlie works well as an empty vessel for the others to roam around and fill with beer and experiences and music. Emma Watson gives a rather bland performance, seeming to concentrate more on her accent than emoting. The rest of the cast fill roles rather than characters, although I did squee a little seeing Mae Whitman.
If you are a fan of the book, it's faithful to a fault. Everyone else will see the usual "damaged kid in the wild" subgenre of the coming of age movie. Not a stand out but well executed.