"Vinyl. Oh, and Olive Garden." These were the words that Emma Watson dubbed the hardest to pronounce in an American accent when we caught up with her last night at the Cinema Society's screening of The Perks of Being a Wallflower at the Crosby Street Hotel. Does she go there often? "No," she smiled. "In the movie, Sam goes there a lot." The laughs were all in good humor—her performance as Sam, a record-store-loving, college-boy-dating high-school student, is very believably American and thoroughly sympathetic—someone you'd love to eat with at The Olive Garden.
The same could be said of the film as a whole: nothing about its premise is entirely novel—a high school drama complete with sex, drugs, football games, college decisions, a car accident, and a horrible romantic misunderstanding—but its treatment of the subject is artful and genuinely moving. The audience at the Crosby Street Hotel, which included Michael Stipe and Ed Westwick, was audibly sniffling by the end of it.
Perhaps that's because its cast could all relate to the material. Even Johnny Simmons, who plays the archetypal varsity football king of the film, identified with the awkwardness that the other characters suffered from. "High school is a weird time—in a way I think I'm still going through it," he laughed.
After the screening, the crowd took a minute to walk off the intense emotion of the film before filtering into the after party, where Natasha Bedingfield and longtime friend of Interview Ellen von Unwerth consorted with the cast over very appropriately named aperitifs—Sparkling Wallflower cocktails by Vikingfjord. —Zack Etheart