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LAFF: Melanie Lynskey talks playing Aunt Helen in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”


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When it was released, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” felt as though it was the “Catcher in the Rye” for the Millenial generation. The 1999 novel, written by Stephen Chbosky, told the story of its titular wallflower as he navigated through his first year of high school and experimented with friendships, drugs and his sexuality.

“Perks” might seem like a pulpy novel on the surface, but it actually deals with some pretty serious topics, the least of which is child molestation. Fortunately for us, the actress who was tasked with portraying the topic in the film is one who is more than up to the task.

Be warned, there are “Perks of Being a Wallflower” spoilers in the rest of this article.

Melanie Lynskey, the same woman who charmed us in “Away We Go,” “The Informant!” and “Up in the Air,” was cast as Helen, the aunt who molested main character Charlie when he was a child. When we caught up with her at the Los Angeles Film Festival red carpet for “Seeking a Friend at the End of the World” — another movie with an unhappy plot line for the actress — she admitted that it was difficult to portray a character who’s on the negative side of a very sensitive issue.

“I think it’s an important story. It’s an important thing to talk about, and I love the way it’s told. It’s really moving, and it’s really special, but it’s hard to be that person to be like, ‘You know what? I’ll do it.’ It’s like, ugh,” she said with a laugh.

The trailer for “Perks” premiered during the 2012 MTV Movie Awards, but Lynskey’s character’s plotline has been mostly kept under wraps. Even though the movie has started to be screened for audiences, she said she’s still mostly sworn to secrecy about the project.

“I don’t know how much I can say about it, but I saw the movie recently and I just was like, god, if I was a teenager and this movie came out, it would make me lose my mind. I would be so excited,” she said. “I loved it.”

Most fans are excited about this movie because it’s Emma Watson‘s first starring role following the conclusion of the “Harry Potter” series.. She’ll be playing Sam, a high school senior who Charlie falls for. The movie also stars Logan Lerman as Charlie and “We Need To Talk About Kevin” star Ezra Miller as Sam’s half brother and Charlie’s best friend. Lynskey said she didn’t get to work much with “Perks’s” teenage stars, but she did hang out with them on set.

“I met [Watson]. I worked with Logan for a minute. I mostly worked with a little child,” she said. Remembering the context of the scenes she had to shoot with him, she added, “Oh, god, the worst. The worst.”

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is due out in theaters on September 21.

Are you looking forward to seeing Lynsky’s portrayal of Aunt Helen in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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