The Perks of Being a Wallflower Parent Guide
Parents should be aware the content issues likely still outweigh the perks of spending any time with this wallflower.
Parent Movie Review
As a freshman just starting high school, Charlie (Logan Lerman) is dreading the first day of class. The start isn’t made easier by the fact his best friend committed suicide only a few months earlier, leaving him confused and hurt. Introverted and unconventional in his thinking, Charlie spends most lunch hours sitting by himself. Even his sister Candace (Nina Dobrev) is too wrapped up in her relationship with Ponytail Derek (Nicholas Braun) to pay attention to her little brother. In shop class, however, Charlie meets Patrick (Ezra Miller), a high school senior trying once again to pass the freshman woodworking class. At a football game, Patrick introduces Charlie to his stepsister Sam (Emma Watson). Although the siblings are several years older than Charlie, they invite him to a house party with their friends where he gets stoned. Underage drinking, illegal drug use and homosexual relationships are all commonplace for this group that refers to themselves as misfit toys. But for Charlie, their acceptance of him as a wallflower means he finally has somewhere he belongs.
Like many high school movies, most of the actors in this cast are in their 20s. As a result, it’s sometimes hard to remember the story deals with a 14-year-old and some 17 and 18-year olds who regularly imbibe or ingest without the hint of a responsible adult anywhere in the vicinity. Even a fistfight and beating in the school cafeteria doesn’t rouse any adults. On the other hand, Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd), the English teacher, is an exemplary teacher and role model. Considering the film’s heavy themes of sexual and physical abuse, mental illness and bullying, it’s refreshing this teacher remains honorable in his actions and intentions. He is the one bright beacon in Charlie’s life and he encourages the young student by constantly challenging him to think deeper.
Although the topics and depictions are often unsettling, the filmmakers shine a light at the end of the tunnel, giving the teens a chance for a fresh start upon graduation. And while Charlie still has three more years of high school ahead of him, he is also given the opportunity to put his past behind him. The film is a story about how people see themselves, and the importance of recognizing that people change- sometimes faster than their self-image can accommodate. But for everyone, every day is an opportunity to change your life.
The film isn’t without content issues, but to a certain extent, these are things that students in almost any high school will have some exposure to. The perks of The Perks of Being a Wallflower are in its other uplifting messages about friendship, change, and acceptance. The film represents the constant changeability and uncertainty of high school- and reminds the audience that life is bigger than that, and that they are capable of working with the hand they’ve been dealt.
Release Date: 21 September 2012 (LImited)Directed by Stephen Chbosky. Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd. Running time: 103 minutes. Theatrical release October 12, 2012. Updated March 31, 2020
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Perks of Being a Wallflower rated PG-13? The Perks of Being a Wallflower is rated PG-13 by the MPAA on appeal for mature thematic material, drug and alcohol use, sexual content including references, and a fight - all involving teens.
Violence: Characters discuss a suicide, mental breakdowns and sexual abuse as a child. Characters are repeatedly and brutally bullied at school without any adult intervention. A boy slaps his girlfriend in the face after they argue. Characters are involved in risky behavior while driving. A character admits to stealing clothing from the store. A character dies in a car accident. A character is attacked and severely beaten in a school cafeteria. A character is seen covered with bruises after being beaten by his father. A female character admits to loving bulimia. A character deals with the after effect of spending time in a mental hospital.
Sexual Content: Characters dress and perform provocatively in a production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Characters discuss the loss of virginity and other sexual activities in some detail. Both homo and heterosexual teen couples kiss on several occasions. Characters admit to being sexually abused as children. A boy comments on his girlfriend’s breasts. A character admits to cheating. Female characters wear some low cut clothing.
Language: The script includes numerous crude terms for sexual activity, a strong sexual expletive and frequent profanities, scatological slang and terms of Deity along with rude name-calling.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A character uses prescription medication. Teen characters repeatedly use illegal drugs and consume alcohol at house parties. A boy is unknowingly given a brownie laced with drugs. Portrayals of stoned teens are shown, often in a comedic way. A character admits to getting drunk in order to be able to offer sexual favors. Police officers find a character passed out in the snow after using drugs.
Page last updated March 31, 2020
The Perks of Being a Wallflower Parents' Guide
What do you think Mr. Anderson means when he says, “We accept the love we think we deserve”?
How do adults use guilt to silence a child after he or she has been abused? How does that guilt affect the characters in this story as they try to make sense of what happened to them as children?
Does the lack of an adult presence in this film contribute to these students approach to dealing with life? What difference might an involved and caring parent or teacher have had on them? What positive family portrayals, if any, do you notice in this film?
How does Charlie using writing as way to make sense of his experiences?
How does Mr. Anderson connect with Charlie? What impact does his willingness to share his favorite books with the boy have on the troubled teen? Some of the books Mr. Anderson shares include To Kill A Mockingbird,The Catcher in the Rye and Walden. You can find these books at your local library or read them online.
The most recent home video release of The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie is February 11, 2013. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: The Perks of Being a Wall Flower
Release Date: 12 February 2013
The Perks of Being a Wall Flower releases to home video (Blu-ray) with the following extras:
- Audio commentary with Screenwriter/Director Stephen Chobsky
- Audio commentary with Director Stephen Chbosky and the cast
- “Best Summer Ever” featurette
- Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary with Stephen Chbosky
Related home video titles:
Another teen wrestles with mental health issues in It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Emma Watson is best known for her role in The Harry Potter franchise. Logan Lerman appears as the title character in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.
Stephen Chbosky, who penned the novel “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and directed the movie, also wrote the screenplay for Rent.