The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a 2012 coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Stephen Chbosky.
The film follows a young teenager, Charlie, an introverted freshman at his new high school. Secretly he is dealing with social anxiety and past traumas. Charlie’s lonely beginnings take a turn when he gets taken in by two seniors, Sam, and her stepbrother Patrick, who teaches him about the scary but exciting world around him.
The movie stars Logan Lerman as protagonist Charlie.
The film won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature.
Movies like The Perks of Being a Wallflower Include Submarine, Short Term 12, and Juno.
These are all films about alienated individuals who go on journeys of self-discovery.
Submarine is a 2010 coming-of-age comedy-drama film that was written and directed by Richard Ayoade.
It follows 15-year-old Oliver Tate, an alienated Welsh teen trying to manage his newfound challenging love life while attempting to save his parents’ marriage after his mom’s ex-lover, Graham, a new age mystic, moves in next to them.
It stars Craig Roberts, Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine as Oliver, Jill (Oliver’s mom), and Graham, respectively.
Submarine is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower in several ways. Both films follow introverted teenage protagonists who feel alienated from society, tell their stories from their unique point of view, and navigate their first love’s difficulties.
It was made on a small budget of $1,500,000 and grossed at the box office $4,581,937. Submarine won Best Feature Film at the BAFTA CYMRU, the Wales branch of the BAFTA awards.
2. Short Term 12
Short Term 12 is a 2013 drama film written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton.
The film follows Grace, a supervisor at a group home facility, who is forced to face her past traumas to help a troubled young girl Jayden who comes from a similar troubled background as her own.
This thought-provoking film is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower within its themes. Like Charlie, the protagonist of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Grace must also face the troubled mental health that stems from her old trauma to help not only those in need but, most importantly, herself.
The film stars Brie Larson, who received acclaim for her performance as protagonist Grace.
The film was made on a low budget of about $1,000,000 but grossed $2,308,535 worldwide. Even though moderately successful financially, it critically received universal critical acclaim. It went so far as to appear on National Board Review’s Top Ten Independent Films of 2013.
Juno is a 2007 coming-of-age comedy-drama film. It was written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman.
The film follows Juno, a rebellious and offbeat 16-year-old girl, who decides to go through with an unplanned teenage pregnancy, resulting from sleeping with her geeky best friend Paulie, while facing the difficulties of heartbreak, adolescence, and love while being pregnant in high school.
Like Charlie, the protagonist of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Juno also tells her story from her unique point of view, feels isolated from her peers, and deals with the pains and joys of first love.
The film stars Ellen Page and Michael Cera as Juno and Paulie, respectively.
Juno was a huge financial and critical success. It was made on a budget of $7,500,000 and grossed worldwide $232,372,681. It won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Film.
4. The 400 Blows
Years later, the French 1959 coming-of-age film The 400 Blows is still significant today. It was written and directed by the great François Truffaut. This film is one of the first influential coming-of-age films. Its influence is still felt today in many coming-of-age films, including The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
The film follows Antoine, an outcasted French teen who descends into a life of crime after being abandoned by all those around him.
Perks of Being a Wallflower would not exist without this classic. Both explore the lives of outcasted teens navigating the difficulties of their unusual coming-of-age in a world that is dead set against them.
The film was made on a small budget of $50,000 and grossed $127,244 worldwide. It was and still is universally acclaimed by critics today. It went so fat to appear on the BFI’s list of 50 Films to see by 15.
Ladybird is a 2017 coming-of-age comedy-drama film that was written and directed by Greta Gerwig. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson.
The movie follows Christine, an artsy teenage girl nicknamed “Lady Bird,” in her senior year of high school in Sacramento, California. During this year, Christine’s strained relationship with her mother worsens as she goes on a journey of self-discovery of who and where she wants to be after high school.
This film is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower with its themes of coming-of-age. In that film, Sam and Patrick’s decision to do with their lives after high school formed a significant plot point like in Ladybird.
The film grossed $79,000,000 against its $10,000,000. It also won The Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
6. The Silver Linings Playbook
The Silver Linings Playbook is a 2012 romantic comedy-drama that was written and directed by David O. Russel.
The film follows Pat, a man who struggles with bipolar disorder, attempting to win his estranged ex-wife back after being released from a psychiatric hospital. He does this with the help of Tiffany, a troubled widow, in exchange for helping her with her dance competition. During this process, the relationship between Pat and Tiffany grows deeper.
This film is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower in its themes. These themes are of characters who struggle with their mental health and navigating love despite those problems.
The Silver Lining Playbook stars Bradley Cooper and Jenifer Lawrence as Pat and Tiffany, respectively.
The movie was made on a budget of $21,000,000 and grossed worldwide $236,412,453. The film also received universal acclaim and won The BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.
7. The Way, Way Back
The Way, Way Back is a 2013 coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.
This story follows Duncan, a 14-year-old introverted teen who goes on a summer vacation with his mother, Pam, and her abusive and overbearing boyfriend, Trent. Just when it seems that things could only get worse, an unexpected silver lining appears. Duncan finds an incredible friend in Owen, a water park manager, and goes on a journey of self-discovery under his guidance.
This film has themes and characters like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Charlie, the protagonist of the previously mentioned film, has a lot in common with Duncan, the protagonist of the film above. Both are introverted and are taking in by older mentors who help them on their journey of self-discovery.
It stars Liam James, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, and Sam Rockwell as Duncan, Trent, Pam, and Owen, respectively.
The Way, Way Back was made on a budget of $5,000,000 and grossed$26,853,810 worldwide. It is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes at 83%.
8. 500 Days of Summer
500 Days of Summer is a 2009 romantic comedy-drama directed by Marc Webb and written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber.
The film follows Tom, a hopeless romantic, who reflects on the 500 days that he spent with his girlfriend Summer before she suddenly dumped him to figure out where things have gone in the relationship. In the process, he discovers more of himself than he bargained for in the journey.
500 Days of Summer stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel as Tom and Summer, respectively.
The film is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as both protagonists go on a profound journey of self-discovery.
500 Days of Summer was made on a budget of $7,500,000 and impressively grossed worldwide $60,722,734. It won Best Screenplay at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Rushmore is a coming-of-age comedy-drama directed by Wes Anderson and written by him and Owen Wilson. Although a moderate success upon its release in 1998, its brilliance was realized among critics and is still recognized today as it was selected to be in the United States Film Registry.
The film follows Max, an ambitious and quirky teenager, who falls for the new beautiful first-grade teacher Rosemary at his prep school. He turns to Herman, a local businessman, for guidance and mentorship on how to win her heart. Things become complicated when his new friend and mentor also fall for her.
The film stars Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray as Max and Herman, respectively.
Rushmore is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as both protagonists go on a journey of self-discovery under the guidance of an older mentor.
Although its success is recognized today, it grossed only $17,105,219 worldwide over its $9,000,000 budget.
10. Little Miss Sunshine
Little Miss Sunshine is a 2006 comedy-drama directed by married couple duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and written by Michael Arndt.
The film follows the Hoover family – consisting of Richard, his wife Sheryl, their daughter Olive and son Dwayne, Sheryl’s brother Frank, and the grandfather of Olive and Dwayne. They all go on their respective hilarious journeys of self-discovery as they drive together to take little Olive to a beauty pageant.
Little Miss Sunshine stars Greg Kinnear, Steve Carrell, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin, and Paul Dano as Richard, Frank, Sheryl, Grandpa, Olive, and Dwayne, respectively.
The film is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, in seeing characters who all struggle with their mental health and attempt to better themselves on a journey of self-discovery.
The film won the BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay. It was a huge financial success as it grossed worldwide $101,058,954 over its $8,000,00 budget.
Boyhood is a 2014 coming-of-age epic drama film written and directed by Richard Linklater over 12 years from 2001 to 2013 with the same cast.
It follows the coming-of-age journey of Mason over 12 years of life from child to young adult.
Boyhood stars Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, and Ethan Hawke as Mason the protagonist, Olivia his mother, and Mason Sr his father, respectively.
Boyhood is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Both films put their protagonists’ unique coming-of-age journey, with all its joys and pitfalls, as the focus.
It grossed $48,137,666 worldwide over its budget of $4,000,000. Many consider Boyhood, including The New York Times and Metacritic, as one of the greatest films ever made.
12. Dazed and Confused
Dazed and Confused is a 1993 coming-of-age comedy film written and directed by Richard Linklater.
Although Dazed and Confused failed at the box office upon release by only grossing $7,993,039 over its $6,900,000 budget, it came to be appreciated by many critics and even filmmakers in years to come. It later appeared on Entertainment Weekly’s 100 All-Time Greatest Movies and was voted by Quentin Tarantino as one of his favorite films.
Dazed and Confused follows a group of teenagers who causes mayhem on the last day of high school in 1976, Austin, Texas. Seniors celebrate the end of their high school careers while a group of freshmen tries to avoid sadistic seniors looking to haze them at the start of their high school careers.
The film is like Perks of Being a Wallflower. Some of the characters from the respective movie make peace with the end of their high school career, while others, like Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Mitch from Dazed and Confused, are only beginning to make sense of their high school journeys.
Mid90s is a 2018 coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Jonah Hill. It was a moderate success pulling in $9,187,575 at the worldwide box office. It was well-received by critics and even voted one of 2018’s Top Ten Independent Film by the National Board of Review.
The movie, set in 1993, follows Stevie, an introverted 13-year-old from a troubled home, who joins and befriends a group of skaters of his age and older.
Mid90’s is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In both films, older and more mature peers mentor both protagonists on their coming-of-age journeys.
14. The Edge of Seventeen
The Edge of Seventeen is a 2016 coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig.
The film follows an awkward 17-year-old Nadine whose troubled high school life becomes unbearable when her best friend begins dating her older brother. She turns to Mr. Burner, her sarcastic and blunt high school teacher, for support.
The movie stars Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson as Nadine and Mr. Burner, respectively. Steinfeld also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Musical or Comedy for her fantastic performance as Nadine.
The film is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as Nadine and Charlie rely on the support of their high school teachers for guidance on their coming-of-age turmoils.
Booksmart is a 2019 coming-of-age comedy film directed by Olivia Wilde.
The film follows Amy and Molly, two academic overachievers, who realize that they never enjoyed their high school careers like their peers in their final year of high school. They decide to make up for it in one night of mayhem and partying on the eve of their graduation.
Booksmart stars Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein as Amy and Molly, respectively.
The film is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as the two protagonists, Molly and Amy, are alienated introverts, like Charlie, who try to find themselves in the chaotic world around them.
Although only earning $24,959,607 over its $6,000,000 budget at the worldwide box office, it won Best Feature Film at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
16. Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting is a 1997 drama film directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The latter two also act in the movie.
Will Hunting is a troubled young man with a high IQ who works as a janitor at MIT. He catches the attention of a famous mathematics professor when he solves a complicated math problem. After Will gets arrested for attacking a police officer, the professor makes a deal to get leniency for him if Will goes to therapy with Sean McGuire – a man with a similar background.
The film is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as the protagonist is intelligent individuals held back from reaching their full potential resultant of repressed trauma.
The film grossed $225,925,989 worldwide over its $10,000,000 budget. It gained critical acclaim and won Best Picture at the Oscars.
17. Little Women (2019)
Little Women is a 2019 period coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Gretta Gerwig, based upon the famous novel by Louisa May Alcott.
The famous story follows the coming-of-age of four sisters, Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth March, from childhood to womanhood in 19th century America.
Little Women shares similarities with The Perks of Being a Wallflower in its exploration of coming-of-age, such as first love and heartbreak.
The film earned $218,895,434 worldwide over its $42,000,000 budget. It won Best Costume Design at the Oscars, the year it was released.
18. Stand by Me
Stand by Me is a 1986 coming-of-age adventure film directed by Rob Reiner, based on the short story The Body by Stephen King. It got nominated upon release for the Golden Globe for Best Drama Film. It also grossed $52,287,766 worldwide over a budget of $8,000,000.
The film is set in 1959 and follows four boys – Gordie, Chriss, Teddy, and Vern –who hike to find a dead body to appear in the newspaper. There they go through a journey of self-discovery.
The film is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as both Gordie, the protagonist of this film, and Charlie, of the other movie, aspire to be writers and goes through a pivotal coming-of-age journey of self-discovery.
19. The Kings of Summer
The Kings of Summer is a 2013 coming-of-age comedy-drama film directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by Chris Galletta.
The movie follows three teenagers – Joe, Patrick, and Biaggio- from dysfunctional homes who decide to run away and live off the land together.
The film stars Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, and Moises Arias as Joe, Patrick, and Biaggio, respectively.
Although only making $1,501,595 at the box office worldwide, it got positive reviews from critics. It currently is certified fresh and holds 76% on Rotten Tomatoes.
20. The Spectacular Now
The Spectacular Now is a 2013 coming-of-age romantic comedy-drama film directed by James Ponsoldt and written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. It is based upon the book of the same name by Tim Tharp.
It follows a blossoming romance between a rebellious alcoholic high school senior, Stutter, and an innocent, bookish teenager Aimee, after she finds him passed out on her lawn.
Although only earning $6,916,951 worldwide over its $2,500,000 budget, it got a critically positive response. It is currently certified fresh and holds a score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a significant plot aspect follows the blossoming romance between an innocent and rebellious teenager.
Whiplash is a 2014 drama film with coming-of-age themes, written and directed by Damien Chazelle.
The movie follows Andrew, a young, ambitious jazz drummer who aspires to rise to the top of the elite music conservatory where he studies. He is discovered by Fletcher, a great but abusive jazz instructor, who puts him in the top jazz ensemble and pushes him to reach his full potential.
The film stars Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons as Andrew and Fletcher, respectively.
Whiplash grossed $48,982,041 over its budget of $3,300,000. J.K Simmons won Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars for his role as Fletcher.
Like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, both protagonists are negatively and positively influenced by older mentors.
22. Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society is a 1989 drama film, with coming-of-age themes, directed by Peter Weir and written by Tom Schulman.
The movie, set in 1959, follows an English teacher, John Keating, and a group of students at a conservative prep school. He inspires his students by teaching them poetry through unorthodox methods that encourage them to express themselves openly.
The film stars Robin Williams as John Keating.
The film was a financial and critical success. It earned $239,500,000 at the worldwide box office over its budget of $16,400,000. Upon release, it won Best Screenplay at the Oscars.
Like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the young protagonists are assisted on their coming-of-age journeys by their English teacher.
23. Billy Elliot
Billy Elliot is a 2000 coming-of-age drama film directed by Stephen Daldry and written by Lee Hall.
The film follows Billy Elliot, a young boy from Northern England, who finds himself in a ballet class on his way to his boxing class and discovers a great passion for it, much to his father’s dismay, who holds negative stereotypes.
The movie stars Jamie Bell in the title role.
The film’s protagonist shares a familiar aspect with the protagonist of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Both are outcasted teens trying to find themselves in a world that does not want to accept them.
The film grossed $109,283,018 worldwide over its budget of $5,000,000. It also won the BAFTA for Best Film.
24. The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club 1985 is a coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by John Hughes. This classic grossed $45,905,191 upon release and received positive reviews. Its legacy as one of the greatest films of all time is still recognized today as it was reserved on the United States National Film Registry.
The movie follows four teens from different walks of life – John, a rebel, Claire, a popular girl, Allison, an outcast, Brian a nerd, and Andrew, a jock, in Saturday highs school detention, who learn to empathize with another.
The cast includes Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Jud Nelson, Ally Sheedy, and Anthony Michael Hall as Andrew, Claire, John, Allison, and Brian, respectively.
This film is like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Both explore the lives of teens from different walks of life who learn to empathize with one another.
25. 10 Things I Hate About You
10 Things I Hate About You is a 1999 romantic-comedy film directed by Gil Junger. It grossed $53,478,166 worldwide over its $30,000,000 budget. It is considered one of the best high school films of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
The film follows a developing romance between two peculiar high schoolers. Cameron, a new kid in high school, is forced to pay Patrick, a troublesome peer, to go out with Kat, a shrewish peer, to date her younger sister Bianca. The film focuses on the developing romantic relationship between Kat and Patrick.
10 Things I Hate About You explores heartbreak and love among teenagers, like The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
(Note: The article received a 7% plagiarism score as of the film titles, budgets, awards, cast and crew, and box office financial information.)
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